Peter Handke, Olga Tokarczuk win Nobel prizes for literature

Nobel Prize for Literature, Peter Handke, Olga Tokarczuk

Stockholm - The Swedish Academy announced on Thursday.


Published: Thu 10 Oct 2019, 3:12 PM

Last updated: Fri 11 Oct 2019, 2:10 AM

Polish novelist Olga Tokarczuk and Austrian author Peter Handke - two writers whose works are deeply intertwined in Europe's religious, ethnic and social faultlines - won the 2018 and 2019 Nobel Prizes for literature on Thursday.
The rare double announcement came after no literature prize was awarded last year due to sex-abuse allegations that tarnished the Swedish Academy, which awards the literature prize.
Yet if prize organisers hoped to get through this year's awards without controversy, they will likely be disappointed.
The Swedish Academy called Handke "one of the most influential writers in Europe" after World War II and praised his work for exploring "the periphery and the specificity of human experience" with linguistic ingenuity.
But the 76-year-old author has long faced criticism for his vigorous defense of the Serbs during the 1990s wars that devastated the Balkans as Yugoslavia disintegrated. He spoke at the 2006 funeral of former Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic, who at the time was facing war crimes charges, calling him "a rather tragic man."
Handke - who once called for the Nobel Prize to be abolished - said he was "astonished" to receive the award.
"I never thought they would choose me," Handke told reporters outside his home near Paris.
"It was very courageous by the Swedish academy, this kind of decision," he added.

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