Le Clézio became popular in France in the 1970s and 80s with novels set across the world. His big breakthrough came in 1980 with Desert, an award-winning novel of French colonialism seen through the eyes of a Tuareg woman in the Sahara. Since 2000 he has focused on stories of childhood and post-colonialism, drawing on his own family stories.
The Nobel jury said Le Clézio "stood out as an ecologically engaged author", citing his novels Terra Amata, The Book of Flights, War and The Giants. They called him an "explorer of a humanity beyond and below the reigning civilisation".
His acceptance speech at the ceremony in December is likely to have a political slant. A defender of Creole writers who face problems getting published, he said yesterday he would use the speech to campaign for the promotion of young writers outside the metropolitan elite. He is also vocal about war, women's rights and child prostitution in the developing world.
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