Culture 16:18 10/10/2019 World

Olga Tokarczuk and Peter Handke win Nobel Prizes in Literature

Polish novelist Olga Tokarczuk and Austrian author Peter Handke have both won the Nobel Prizes in Literature.

To a packed room at the Swedish Academy in Stockholm on Thursday, the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy Mats Malm announced Tokarczuk as 2018’s Nobel literature laureate, and Handke as 2019’s winner, The Guardian reports.

Tokarczuk was cited by the committee for “a narrative imagination that with encyclopedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries as a form of life”, and Handke for “an influential work that with linguistic ingenuity has explored the periphery and the specificity of human experience”.

Malm said both laureates had been informed of their win. Handke was at home, and Tokarczuk was on a reading tour in Germany and had to pull her car to the side of the road when she received the call.

Tokarczuk, an activist, public intellectual, and critic of Poland’s politics, is a bestseller in her native Poland, and has become much better known in the UK after winning the International Booker prize for her novel Flights. The Nobel committee’s Anders Olsson said her work, which “centres on migration and cultural transitions”, was “full of wit and cunning”.

Handke is a more controversial choice. Olsson described the Austrian author as “one of the most influential writers of contemporary fiction, and part of the literary debate since 1966”, who “with great artistry explores the periphery and unseen places”. A playwright and novelist, whose screenplay credits include Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire, he is also known for pro-Serbian views which include condemning “criminal” Nato intervention in Serbia. Attending Slobodan Milošević’s funeral, he was reported to have said that he was happy to be beside “a man who defended his people”.

“Although he has, at times, caused controversy he cannot be considered an engaged writer in the sense of Sartre, and he gives us no political programs,” said the Nobel committee in their citation.

Last year’s prize was postponed because of the “reduced public confidence” that followed rape accusations made against Jean-Claude Arnault, the French husband of academy member Katarina Frostenson. Frostenson and six other members ended up leaving the Swedish Academy amid bitter rows over how the accusations were handled, and Arnault, who was also accused of leaking the names of laureates, is now in prison for rape.



Source Panorama.am
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