Nonino International Prize 2016

Lars Gustafsson



His narrating (even if in verse) is unique, always ironic with himself, immersed between fantasy and erudition that suddenly become a deep game in the time that marks our passage.
A writing that finds the truth in nature, where life and death join in close friendship and colors become one like sensations, getting lost in the absolute.



Lars Gustafsson is a Swedish poet, writer and academic.
Born on 17 May 1936 in Västerås, Sweden, he graduated from the Västerås Gymnasium and continued his secondary education at the University of Uppsala; he graduated in 1960, then he received a doctorate in Theoretical Philosophy in 1978. He lived in Austin, Texas, where he taught philosophy and creative writing at the University of Texas until 2006, the date of his retirement and his return to Sweden.

Gustafsson is one of the most prolific Swedish writers since August Strindberg. Starting from the second half of the Fifties he started to give rise to a voluminous production of poems, novels, short stories, essays and articles. Gustafsson is considered the most international contemporary Swedish writer, and during his career he has received several International Awards in the field literature, including the Prix International Charles Veillon des Essais in 1983, the Heinrich Steffens Preis in 1986, A life for literature in 1989, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship for poetry in 1994, The Noric Prize of the Swedish Academy in 2014 and in 2015, the prestigious Thomas Mann Award.

In his stories as well as in the poems it is possible to recognize that great fantastic vein, that game of the scholar, who jokes with his erudition, that obsession with time and for the identity that have made him be defined the “Swedish Borges”.
Among his most famous novels and short stories, published in Italy exclusively by Iperborea, we quote A Tiler’s afternoon (1992), The Death of a Beekeeper (1989), Mrs. Sorgedahl’s Lovely White Arms (2012) and The man on the blue bicycle (2015). His latest novel is Dr. Wasser’s prescription (2015). Of his poems available in Italian, there is a selection of verses Poesie Passigli (1997), and a huge anthology edited by Maria Cristina Lombardi and published by Crocetti with the title Sulla ricchezza dei mondi abitati (2011).

Selected Publications in English
The Death of a Beekeeper, New Directions Publishing, 1981
The Tennis Player, New Directions Publishing, 1983
Sigismund, New Directions Publishing, 1984
Stories of Happy People, New Directions Publishing, 1986
Funeral Music for Freemasons, New Directions Publishing, 1987
Bernard Foy’s Third Castling, New Directions Publishing, 1988
The Stillness of the World Before Bach, New Directions Publishing, 1988
A Tiler’s Afternoon, New Directions Publishing, 1993
The Tale of a Dog, New Directions Publishing, 1999
Elegies and Other Poems, New Directions Publishing, 2000
A Time in Xanadu, Copper Canyon Press, 2008
Selected Poems, Bloodaxe Books, 2015