Friday, 22 November, 2019


Peter Handke wins 2019 award, Olga Tokarczuk 2018

The main entrance of the Nobel Museum at the Swedish Academy in Stockholm Sweden in this Peter Handke wins 2019 award, Olga Tokarczuk 2018
Hannah Rogers | 10 October, 2019, 16:56

Austrian author Peter Handke is the victor of Nobel in literature this year and the postponed award for 2018 went to Polish author Olga Tokarczuk.

Several members of the Swedish Academy that awards the prize stepped down a year ago including the permanent secretary after 18 women accused the husband of an academy member of sexual assault.

The Nobel Prize for 2018 was awarded to Tokarczuk "for her narrative imagination that with encyclopedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries as a form of life" a representative for the Academy said.

Peter Handke, this year's awardee, presents "an influential work that with linguistic ingenuity has explored the periphery and the specificity of human experience". It is to be noted that 2018 award was delayed following sexual assault allegations that had rocked the Swedish Academy. The difference this year is that Handke and Tokarczuk are not sharing the prize; they're each getting their own and about $910,000 apiece.

In his will, Swedish industrialist and dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel specifically designated the Swedish Academy as the institution responsible for the Nobel Prize in Literature.

The poet Katarina Frostenson was among seven academy members who left the body after bitter rows over how to handle rape accusations made in 2017 against her husband, Frenchman Jean-Claude Arnault, who was also accused of leaking the names of several prize winners.

Her novel The Books of Jacob, a historical tale centred on the controversial Polish author and religious leader Jacob Frank has been hailed as her masterwork.

Tokarczuk is the 15th woman to have won the literature Nobel.

A total of 110 Nobel Prizes in Literature have been awarded since 1901. Of the 11 Nobels awarded so far this week, all the other laureates had been men. At the same time, it ousted everyone involved in the scandal and it "no longer includes any members who are subject to conflicts of interest or criminal investigations", according to the foundation.

The members hold a vote in October to choose the victor, and the laureate must obtain more than half of the votes cast.

"The changes have been very productive and we are hopeful for the future", Malm told AFP in an interview just days before the prize announcement.

Following a scandal a year ago, the Nobel Foundation that funds the Nobel Prizes insisted that five external people also join the Nobel Committee for at least 2019 and 2020.

When asked whether the Swedish Academy really makes the decision, Olsson said "We are not ready yet to evaluate the process", and declined to elaborate on the internal line of work.

The Nobel Foundation had warned that another group could be picked to award the prize if the academy didn't improve its tarnished image, but said in March it was satisfied the Swedish Academy had revamped itself and restored trust. Every year, the Academy awards 16 Nobel prizes. The laureates receive them at an elegant ceremony in Stockholm on December 10 the anniversary of Nobel's death in 1896 together with five other Nobel winners.

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