Patrick Modiano, a French historical novelist whose work is largely inspired by Paris under the Nazi occupation, won the Nobel Literature Prize on Thursday.
The Swedish Academy said it wanted to celebrate his "art of memory" in capturing the lives of ordinary people under the World War II occupation, from 1940 to 1944.
"This is someone who has written many books that echo off each other... that are about memory, identity and aspiration," said Peter Englund, the permanent secretary of the academy.
Modiano will receive the prize sum of eight million Swedish kronor ($1.1 million, 878,000 euros).
He will be presented with his award at a formal ceremony in Stockholm on December 10, the anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel's death in 1896.
Profile: Patrick Modiano, chronicler of Paris under Nazi rule
The Nazi occupation of France has provided the material for a large part of Modiano's literary production.
Apart from a long series of books, in the early 1970s, Modiano co-wrote the screenplay for Lacombe Lucien, a movie directed by Louis Malle focusing on French collaboration with the Nazis.
Last year's Nobel Literature Prize went to the Canadian short-story writer Alice Munro.