Jon Fosse, who recently received the Nobel Prize in Literature for 2023. Photo: Diocese of Oslo

What does Pope Francis’ letter to the convert and Nobel Laureate in Literature 2023 say?

Bishop Bernt Eidsvig of Oslo described the Pope’s letter as a “great – and well-deserved – honor,” demonstrating not only the international attention drawn by the award but also how Fosse’s words resonate worldwide, reaching even the halls of the Vatican.

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(ZENIT News / Oslo, 12.06.2023).- The Catholic Church of Norway has published on its website a personal letter from Pope Francis addressed to the playwright Jon Fosse, who recently received the Nobel Prize in Literature for 2023.

Fosse, a convert to Catholicism, shared insights into his spiritual journey, stating, “I had a kind of religious turn in my life related to delving into the unknown. I was an atheist, but I couldn’t explain what happened when I wrote, what made it happen. Where does it come from? I couldn’t answer. You can always explain the brain scientifically, but you can’t grasp its light or its spirit. That’s something else,” he explained in an interview with The New Yorker.

Struggling with alcoholism and anxiety, Fosse found solace and resolution in his conversion to Catholicism. Gregory Wolfe, editor and director of Slant Books, remarked to Aleteia, “As a convert to the Catholic Church, he incorporates prayer directly into the stories. Readers willing to accept the brief ‘learning curve’ that comes with adapting to his narrative style will be well rewarded by a writer of almost mystical sensibility.”

Jon Fosse began writing for the theater in the 1990s, and the Nobel committee has described him as “one of the world’s most representative playwrights.” He was already a celebrated novelist before his conversion, and his post-conversion novels have gained acclaim in the English-speaking world.

The Pope’s letter, dated October 18, expresses gratitude “because your gentle testimony of faith and your committed literary voice now reach a very broad audience.” Pope Francis, a former literature professor, often incorporates references to famous and lesser-known writers in his speeches and writings.

In the letter, Pope Francis highlights Fosse’s ability to evoke the gifts of grace, peace, and love from Almighty God in our often shadowed world, stating that it will undoubtedly enrich the lives of those who share the pilgrimage of faith. The letter concludes with assurances of prayers and a blessing.

Bishop Bernt Eidsvig of Oslo described the Pope’s letter as a “great – and well-deserved – honor,” demonstrating not only the international attention drawn by the award but also how Fosse’s words resonate worldwide, reaching even the halls of the Vatican.

 

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Rafael Llanes

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