Fear of regime inspired Romanian Nobel winner

STOCKHOLM- The winner of this year's Nobel Prize for Literature told Monday of how her fear of the communist regime in her native Romania inspired her to write.
Herta Mueller used the lecture traditionally granted to literature laureates to explain that the fear of death in the dictatorship gave her a "thirst for life. A hunger for words."

Herta Mueller (AFP/SCANPIX/Claudio Bresciani)
Herta Mueller (AFP/SCANPIX/Claudio Bresciani)
Dressed all in black, Mueller told guests at the Nobel Academy near Stockholm's Royal Palace of how the difficulties of life under communist rule led her to move to Germany and start writing.
"I reacted to the deathly fear with a thirst for life. A hunger for words. Nothing but the whirl of words could grasp my condition," she said.
In the lecture, titled "Every word knows something of a vicious circle," Mueller reflected on a literary career which has now earned her one of the most prestigious international accolades.
"I talked a great deal during the dictatorship, mostly because I decided not to blow the trumpet," she said.
"Usually my talking led to excruciating consequences. But the writing began in silence, there on the stairs, where I had to come to terms with more then could be said.
"What was happening could no longer be expressed in speech."
The novelist said: "In writing, it is not a matter of trusting, but rather of the honesty of deceit."
Recounting a real-life incident, Mueller told how a "colossus from the Securitate" -- Romania's feared communist-era secret police -- had changed her life.
"He yelled at me: write! Without sitting down I wrote what he dictated - my name, date of birth and address," Mueller said.
"Next, that I would tell no one, no matter how close a friend or relative, that I... and then came the terrible word: 'colaborez' -- I am collaborating. At that point, I stopped writing."
Mueller will officially receive the prize at a ceremony on Thursday.

Monday, December 7th 2009

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