'Subversive' Wins Nobel Award

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STOCKHOLM: Brushing aside objections that they only give prizes to white European males, the Nobel Academy Thursday awarded its prize for Literature to a white European male. It is, nevertheless, likely to be a popular choice: the winner has amused audiences the world over.

His name is Dario Fo, a 71-year-old Italian playwright who produces politically-oriented and often subversive comedy kind of like Samuel Beckett meets Tom Stoppard. His most popular plays include "Death of an Anarchist," "Mistero Buffo" which harks back to medieval mystery plays with its single performer and religious theme and "Elizabeth I," described as "the play Shakespeare never wrote."

Fo, who was not on the short-list of any critic, was a surprise choice but that in itself should not be a surprise: The first Nobel Literature Prize was awarded in 1901 to Sully Prudhomme over Leo Tolstoy. The Academy cited Fo for his ability to "simultaneously amuse, engage and provide perspectives." Fo's immortality is not yet assured, however after all, who remembers Sully Prudhomme?