Austrian writer Elfriede Jelinek won in 2004 for, according to the committee statement, "her musical flow of voices and counter-voices in novels and plays that with extraordinary linguistic zeal reveal the absurdity of society's clichés and their subjugating power."
Ms. Jelinek skipped the awards ceremony in Sweden, however. She explained her reason to The New York Times: "I would attend the ceremony if I were able to. But unfortunately I'm mentally ill with agoraphobia. I'm unable to be in crowds, and I can't bear to be looked at."