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Nobel Prize for Literature to Herta Mueller

Herta Mueller, who was persecuted for her writing under Romania's Communist regime, beat out Stephenie Meyer, Dan Brown and others for the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Today's award seems to reinforce the notion that the Nobel is a sort of literary archeological dig, in which judges scour the world's libraries and academies for an obscure author, in the hopes of creating a broad, worldwide audience and righting wrongs. The judges liberally slather on their political values, as the winning authors often are known for social commentary that hits at authoritarianism and racism.

Not that Meyer and Brown -- or any other wildly popular mass market writer should win the Nobel. And many past winners (V.S. Naipaul, Toni Morrison, Doris Lessing, are utterly deserving) But the prizes risk becoming a parody of themselves if they routinely exclude American writers and others who have generated a following with serious works.

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"I am very surprised and still can not believe it," Mueller said in a statement released by her publisher in Germany. "I can't say anything more at the moment."

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