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Austrian, Polish authors win Nobel Prize in literature

Austrian, Polish authors win Nobel Prize in literature 
October 10
15:26 2019
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Peter Handke, Austrian author, and Olga Tokarczuk, his Polish counterpart, have been announced as winners of the Nobel Prize in literature for 2019 and 2018 respectively. 

The winners were announced at a ceremony in Stockholm on Thursday. 

Handke was awarded “for an influential work that with linguistic ingenuity has explored the periphery and the specificity of human experience”.

The author’s unique art was said to have an “extraordinary attention to landscapes and the material presence of the world, which has made cinema and painting two of his greatest sources of inspiration”. 

Having produced works in different genres, the Swedish Academy said the 2019 literature laureate has established himself as one of the most influential writers in Europe after the second world war.

Handke was born 1942 in Griffen, located in the region Kärnten in southern Austria.

His 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,” the organisers wrote. 

Tokarczuk, on the other hand, was awarded “for a narrative imagination that with encyclopedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries as a form of life”.

Tokarczuk was described as an author who never views reality as something stable or everlasting, but 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,” the organisers wrote about her. 

Tokarczuk was born 1962 in Sulechów in Poland, and today lives in Wrocław. She made her debut as a fiction writer in 1993 with ‘Podróz ludzi Księgi’ (‘The Journey of the Book-People’).

The prize, organised by the Swedish Academy did not take place in 2018 over a sexual misconduct scandal that led to the resignation of a string of board members. 

Nigeria’s Wole Soyinka was awarded the prize in 1986, becoming the first African to win it.

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