Nobel literature chief: US writing too 'insular'

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) -- The man who announces the Nobel Prize in literature says the United States is too "insular" and ignorant to compete with Europe when it comes to great writing.

In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press, Horace Engdahl said Tuesday that "Europe still is the center of the literary world."

Engdahl is the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, which selects the literature prize winner. He is expected to announce the winner in the coming weeks.

Engdahl says the U.S. "is too isolated, too insular" and doesn't really "participate in the big dialogue of literature."

Since Japanese poet Kenzaburo Oe won in 1994, the selections have had a distinct European flavor. The last American winner was Toni Morrison in 1993.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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