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Double Duty for Nobel Lit Prize

Polish author Olga Tokarczuk takes 2018's award, Austrian Peter Handke claims 2019's
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 10, 2019 7:11 AM CDT
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In this Aug. 7, 2009, file photo, Austrian author Peter Handke is seen in Salzburg, Austria.   (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson, File)
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(Newser) – A twofer this Thursday in Nobel land: The 2018 Nobel Prize in literature has been awarded to Polish author Olga Tokarczuk "for a narrative imagination that with encyclopedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries as a form of life," while the 2019 prize went to Austrian author Peter Handke, reports the AP. Mats Malm, the Swedish Academy's permanent secretary, says Handke was honored "for an influential work that with linguistic ingenuity has explored the periphery and the specificity of human experience." There were two Nobel Prizes awarded this year after the 2018 lit award was postponed following sex abuse allegations that rocked the Swedish Academy. With the glory comes a $918,000 cash award, a gold medal, and a diploma. The laureates receive them at a ceremony in Stockholm on Dec. 10.

The announcement that the 2018 Nobel Prize in literature was awarded to Tokarczuk provides a morale boost to liberal-minded Poles only three days before a nationalist populist party taking the country down an illiberal path seems headed for re-election. Tokarczuk has celebrated the ethnic melting pot that Poland was in the past in her works, which has not made her universally admired by the nationalists in power in Poland. Handke, meanwhile, has proved himself one of the most influential writers in Europe post-WWII, with a slew of novels, essays, dramatic works and screenplays under his belt, including his debut novel, Die Hornissen, and his 1969 play Offending the Audience, whose main concept was just that. More on both authors here and here. The coveted Nobel Peace Prize is Friday, with the economics award on Monday.

(Read more Nobel Prize for Literature stories.)

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