Mueller at a celebratory press conference in Berlin today.(Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

So it turns out the Nobel Prize for Literature has gone not to the Israeli novelist Amos Oz, as some people were predicting, or to Philip Roth, who others (though fewer others, it seemed) thought was a leading contender. Instead, the winner of this year’s Nobel Prize for Literature is Herta Mueller, a Romanian-born German novelist whom none of us had heard of until this morning. She is 56 years old, and she immigrated to Germany in 1987, after years of persecution and censorship in her native country, according to The New York Times. The Swedish Academy, in announcing the award, praised Mueller, “who, with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed.” This year is the 20th anniversary of the fall of European communism, and Mueller opposed the Ceausescu regime and was a member of Aktionsgruppe Banat, which the Times describes as “a group of dissident writers who sought freedom of speech.” Also intriguing: the Times notes that her father served in the SS during World War II.

Herta Müller Wins the Nobel Prize in Literature [NYT]