In Summary
  • Nobel Prize in Literature for 2018 and 2019 awarded to Polish and Austrian writers respectively.
  • Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk's books portray a polychromatic world perpetually in motion, with characters' traits intermingled and language that is both precise and poetic.
  • Austrian novelist and playwright Peter Handke meanwhile won "for an influential work that with linguistic ingenuity has explored the periphery and the specificity of human experience."

Stockholm,

Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk on Thursday won the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature, which was delayed over a sexual harassment scandal, while Austrian novelist and playwright Peter Handke took the 2019 award, the Swedish Academy said.

Tokarczuk, considered the most talented Polish novelist of her generation, was honoured "for a narrative imagination that with encyclopaedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries as a form of life".

Her books portray a polychromatic world perpetually in motion, with characters' traits intermingled and language that is both precise and poetic.

Handke meanwhile won "for an influential work that with linguistic ingenuity has explored the periphery and the specificity of human experience," the Academy said.

Handke "has established himself as one of the most influential writers in Europe after the Second World War."

His works are filled with a strong desire to discover and to make his discoveries come to life by finding new literary expressions for them, the Academy said.

15TH WOMAN

Tokarczuk and Handke each take home a cheque worth nine million kronor ($912,000, 828,000 euros).

Tokarczuk becomes just the 15th woman to have won the prestigious distinction, out of 116 literature laureates honoured since 1901.

Dating back to 1786, the Swedish Academy is at pains to repair its reputation after a devastating scandal that saw Frenchman Jean-Claude Arnault, who has close ties to the Academy, jailed for rape in 2018.

The Academy was torn apart by a deep rift between members over how to manage their ties to him.

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