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Authors Olga Tokarczuk & Peter Handke win Nobel Literature Prize after 2018 #MeToo scandal

Last year's award was postponed following sex abuse allegations that had rocked the Swedish Academy.

ET Online|
Updated: Oct 10, 2019, 05.29 PM IST
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Agencies
​Olga Tokarczuk was born 1962 in Sulechów, Poland, and Peter Handke​ is from a village named Griffen​, Austria.
Olga Tokarczuk (L) was born 1962 in Sulechów, Poland, and Peter Handke is from a village named Griffen, Austria.
After a controversy-filled 2018 that saw no winners in Literature, the Nobel Committee on Thursday announced two awards. The Stockholm-based body announced Polish author Olga Tokarczuk as the winner for 2018, while this year's prize went to Austrian writer Peter Handke. The 2018 literature award was postponed following sex abuse allegations that had rocked the Swedish Academy.

Mats Malm, Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy, felicitated both winners. He said that Handke was honoured "for an influential work that with linguistic ingenuity has explored the periphery and the specificity of human experience.”


Tokarczuk, the author of 'Flights', was awarded “for a narrative imagination that with encyclopedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries as a form of life.”


In a series of tweets, the Swedish Academy confirmed the 2018 winner was born in 1962 in Sulechów in Poland, while the 2019 awardee, born 1942, is from a village named Griffen, located in the region Kärnten in southern Austria.

The Wroclaw-resident, Tokarczuk, made her debut as a fiction writer 1993 with ‘Podróz ludzi Ksiegi’ (‘The Journey of the Book-People’). Her real breakthrough came with her third novel ‘Prawiek i inne czasy’ 1996 (which means ‘Primeval and Other Times’, 2010). The Swedish Academy calls the novel 'an excellent example of new Polish literature after 1989'.


The Austria-born writer and his mother Maria, who belonged to the Slovenian minority, both share the same birthplace.

Handke began his literary journey wit his debut novel ‘Die Hornissen’, published in 1966, and the play ‘Publikumsbeschimpfung’ (‘Offending the Audience’) in 1969.


Last year, the institution found itself embroiled in the #MeToo hurricane.

Frenchman Jean-Claude Arnault, married to an Academy member, and the head of an influential cultural club in Stockholm, was accused of rape and sexual assault. An internal Academy probe also revealed conflicts of interest between him and the institution, which had funded his club for years.

Arnault ultimately faced trial on two counts of raping a woman in 2011. His prosecution had sought a three-year sentence. Paralysed and ridiculed around the world, the scandal forced the Academy’s hand: it announced in May last year that it would postpone the 2018 Nobel Literature Prize, a first in 70 years.


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