Müller was fired from a factory job in the 1970s and interrogated on suspicion of being a spy; even after moving to Berlin she found her apartment was under surveillance and her movements tracked. At one point, an old friend came to visit under the pretext that she needed medical treatment but was in fact reporting back to the Ceausescu-era secret police, the Securitate, about her work and contacts. On a recent trip to Bucharest, she and her friend were shadowed and her hotel phone was tapped.
The Nobel often goes political, as when it picked the Iraq War-critical Harold Pinter in 2005, but we're glad Müller's unbelievable story is being brought to light. Only one of Müller's books is in print in English right now, but post-announcement there are bound to be others. She'll pick up her medal and a cool $1.4 million at the ceremony in Sweden in December. Israeli poet Amos Oz had been heavily favored to win in U.K. betting pools, but there's always next year.