In December 2001, the centennial of the first Nobel Prize was celebrated in Stockholm. To mark the occasion, the Swedish Academy organized a symposium on the theme of “Witness Literature”. Talks were given by speakers from Asia, Africa and Europe, including three Nobel laureates in literature: Nadine Gordimer, Kenzaburo Oe and Gao Xingjian.The main objective of the symposium was to examine the concept of witness literature and its relevance to contemporary literature. This concept is relatively new and has not yet been defined clearly by literary criticism and scholarship. The discussion primarily alternated between two aspects of the topic: the particular claim to truth that witness literature puts forward, and the process that leads from catastrophe to creativity and that turns the victim into a writing witness with the power to suspend forgetfulness and denial.This volume, edited by Horace Engdahl, Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy, brings together all the talks given at the symposium.

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