Entertainment Books Olga Tokarczuk, Peter Handke awarded Nobel Literature Prize for 2018, 2019

Olga Tokarczuk, Peter Handke awarded Nobel Literature Prize for 2018, 2019

Nobel literature prize winners Olga Tokarczuk (2018) and Peter Handke (2019). Photos: AAP, Getty
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The 2018 Nobel Prize in literature has been awarded to Polish author Olga Tokarczuk “for a narrative imagination that with encyclopedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries as a form of life”.

The 2019 prize went to Austrian author Peter Handke.

Mats Malm, the Swedish Academy’s permanent secretary, says Handke was honoured “for an influential work that with linguistic ingenuity has explored the periphery and the specificity of human experience”.

The shortlist was made of eight names of which two were picked for the 2018 and 2019 awards, said Anders Olsson, chair of the Nobel Committee of the Swedish Academy.

“The peculiar art of Peter Handke, awarded the 2019 #NobelPrize in Literature, is the extraordinary attention to landscapes and the material presence of the world, which has made cinema and painting two of his greatest sources of inspiration,” the academy tweeted.

“Peter Handke’s debut novel Die Hornissen was published in 1966. Together with the play Publikumsbeschimpfung (‘Offending the Audience’, 1969), he certainly set his mark on the literary scene.

“More than 50 years later, having produced a great number of works in different genres, 2019 Literature Laureate Peter Handke has established himself as one of the most influential writers in Europe after the Second World War.”

The academy also tweeted about the works of Tokarczuk.

“She made her debut as a fiction writer 1993 with ‘Podróz ludzi Księgi’ (‘The Journey of the Book-People’),” it tweeted.

Her “real breakthrough came with her third novel Prawiek i inne czasy 1996 (‘Primeval and Other Times’, 2010). The novel is an excellent example of new Polish literature after 1989.

“Olga Tokarczuk … never views reality as something stable or everlasting. She constructs her novels in a tension between cultural opposites; nature versus culture, reason versus madness, male versus female, home versus alienation.

“The magnum opus of Literature Laureate Olga Tokarczuk so far is the impressive historical novel Księgi Jakubowe 2014 (‘The Books of Jacob’). She has in this work showed the supreme capacity of the novel to represent a case almost beyond human understanding.”

With the glory comes a nine million kronor ($1.35 million) cash award to be shared, a gold medal and a diploma.

The laureates receive them at an elegant ceremony in Stockholm on December 10, the anniversary of Nobel’s death in 1896, together with five other Nobel winners.

The sixth one, the peace prize, is handed out in Oslo, Norway on the same day.

The 2018 literature award was postponed following sex abuse allegations that had rocked the Swedish Academy.


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