Swedish Academy secretary prefers European literature over American

By Kate Ward
Updated October 17, 2008 at 04:00 AM EDT

Here they go again! The Nobel Foundation has announced the ? winner of its literature prize,? and as usual, it’s someone ? virtually unknown (and unread): French novelist Jean-Marie ? Gustave Le Clézio. No one expected an American to win ever since Horace Engdahl, secretary of the Swedish Academy, ?dismissed U.S. writers as ”too isolated, too insular” and said, ”You can’t get away from the fact that Europe still is the center of the literary world.” His comments stunned ?writers and publishers. ”It seems to be a remark made out of ignorance,” says Grove publisher Morgan Entrekin. ?”Would you accuse Tolstoy of being isolationist?”? Meanwhile, Curbstone Press — which brought out Le Clézio’s Wandering Star in 2004 — hopes to capitalize on the ? author’s Nobel by printing 20,000 more copies of the book. While Curbstone hopes readers will run to the bookstore, Entrekin hopes Engdahl will read a bit more. ”I could give ?him a list if he’d like,” he says.