Olga Tokarczuk, Peter Handke Named Literature Nobel Winners for 2018, 2019

Brenda Watkins
October 10, 2019

He first came to public attention with his 1966 play Offending the Audience in which four actors discuss the nature of theatre for an hour, insulting and praising the audience alternately.

This year marks the 118th anniversary of the Nobel Prize, with each of the winners in literature receiving more than $910,000 in prize money.

She was, said the Academy, awarded the honour "for a narrative imagination that with encyclopaedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries as a form of life".

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

As for who will win this year, that's anyone's guess, but some of the names being thrown around by literary critics and Nobel-watchers include Poland's Olga Tokarczuk, Kenya's Ngugi Wa Thiong'o, Ismail Kadare of Albania, Joyce Carol Oates of the US, Canadian Margaret Atwood, and Japan's Haruki Murakami.

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.

Austrian author and playwright Peter Handke has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for 2019, with 2018's postponed award going to Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk. Jean-Claude Arnault, the husband of a former academy member, was convicted a year ago of two rapes in 2011.

Mats Malm, Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy, felicitated both winners.

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He described Handke's tone as "unfussy and unique", and said that "we have a lot to thank Peter Handke for".

The announcement that the 2018 Nobel Prize in literature has been awarded to Polish author Olga 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.

He added that in early October, the Academy chooses the laureates, and that a candidate must receive more than half of the votes cast. It is to be noted that 2018 award was delayed following sexual assault allegations that had rocked the Swedish Academy.

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. "We want to contribute to the worldwide discussion about literature and what it is supposed to be".

Each prize comes with a $918,000 USA cash award, a gold medal and a diploma.

So far, nine Nobel prizes have been awarded this week and all the laureates are men.

On Wednesday, three scientists won Nobel in Chemistry for their pioneering work leading to the development of lithium-ion batteries. Every year, the Academy awards 16 Nobel prizes. The highly-anticipated Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded on Friday.

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