The Nobel Prize for Literature was awarded to Poland's Olga Tokarczuk for the 2018 edition, postponed one year after a sexual assault scandal, and to Austria's Peter Handke for 2019, the Swedish Academy announced on Thursday.
Olga Tokarczuk is rewarded for "a narrative imagination that, with encyclopedic passion, symbolizes the crossing of borders as a form of life," said Swedish Academy Permanent Secretary Mats Malm. Peter Handke is depicted for a work that "has strong linguistic ingenuity, explored the periphery and the singularity of the human experience," he added.
Peter Handke: one of the most widely read German authors in the world
Author of a dozen books, Olga Tokarczuk, 57, is considered the most gifted novelists of his generation in Poland. His work, extremely varied and translated into more than 25 languages, ranges from a philosophical tale "The Green Children" (2016), to a committed and metaphysical ecologist crime novel "On the bones of the dead" (2010), and to a historical novel of 900 pages "The books of Jakob (2014)". Engaged politically on the left, ecologist and vegetarian, the writer, her head still covered with dreadlocks, does not hesitate to criticize the politics of the current conservative nationalist government of Law and Justice (PiS).
Peter Handke, 76, who has published more than 80 books, is one of the most widely read and played German-language authors in the world. He publishes his first novel, "The hornets", in 1966, before gaining notoriety with "The Anxiety of the goalkeeper at the time of the penalty", in 1970, then "Unhappy misery" (1972), upsetting requiem dedicated to his mother. The Nobel of literature? "It should finally be suppressed, it is a false canonization" that "brings nothing to the reader," he once said.