This year’s announcement for the highest prize in literature came with a double twist – both the 2018 and 2019 winners were announced together - Olga Tokarczuk (2018) and Peter Handke (2019).
Two Nobel Prize winners in a year? Well, it had so happened that last year, the Swedish Academy who are responsible for declaring the winners every year, had run into a spot of trouble.
What kind of trouble? They tried to hush it up but, allegations of abuse had surfaced against the husband of one of the members of the Swedish Academy, which had forced them into leaving the name of winner unannounced in 2018.
So this year, we are honouring two winners! But, how much do we know about them?
Introducing Olga Tokarczuk
At 57, this Polish author, had won the Man Booker International Prize in 2018. Her novel, Flights, is what earned her this critical award making her the first Polish author to receive this honour. After much wait, the Nobel Prize for Literature has also been awarded to her this year. The Swedish Academy jury said, “Olga Tokarczuk was given the award for her narrative imagination that with encyclopedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries as a form of life.”
So happy is the nation with this announcement, that free public transport has been promised to all who will be seen carrying a book by Tokarczuk in Wroc?aw.
Well if you want to explore this author on your own, then here are some of her books you should definitely flip through:
Introducing Peter Handke
This year’s Austrian awardee, Peter Handke, however is a more controversial figure. Why? Well because he turned up at the funeral of the then President of Serbia, Slobodan Miloševi?, who had been held responsible for the mass genocide of Albenians. Handke had taken a stand where Serbia was viewed as the victim in the Balkan War, which has prompted much displeasure against this choice.
The jury however stood strong on its decision stating that he was chosen “for an influential work that with linguistic ingenuity has explored the periphery and the specificity of human experience.”
If you want to understand Handke’s take first hand, then here are some of his works you can try out:
The Moravian Night
All controversies and delays aside, here’s our heartiest congratulations to the two winners!