2018 and 2019 Nobel Prizes in Literature

The Nobel Prizes in Literature for 2018 and 2019 were announced by Mats Malm, newly appointed Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy, on Thursday, October 10, 2019.

The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2018 is awarded to the Polish author Olga Tokarczuk for a narrative imagination that with encyclopedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries as a form of life.

The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2019 is awarded to the Austrian author Peter Handke for an influential work that with linguistic ingenuity has explored the periphery and the specificity of human experience.

This is the sixth Nobel Prize in Literature for Poland and the second for Austria.

Malm informed the international press that the Nobel laureates were informed of their awards, each carrying a monetary prize of 8 million Swedish Krone (approximately 1.16 million Euros).  The call from the Swedish Academy found Hadke at home and Tokarchuk driving in Germany, where she pulled off the road to hear the good news.

“Two winners were named - one for 2019 and one for 2018 - because the prize was not awarded last year. …The 2018 Nobel Prize was delayed by a year after a crisis in the academy sparked by allegations [of sexual assault] against Jean-Claude Arnault, the husband of Academy member Katarina Frostenson. …Frostenson stepped down, and the events also led to allegations of conflict of interest and the leaking of Nobel winners' names.”

Olga Tokarczuk:  'looks at life from above'

“Tokarczuk, 57, considered the leading Polish novelist of her generation, was rewarded "for a narrative imagination that with encyclopaedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries as a form of life".

The author is a Polish best-seller whose books blend the real with the mystical.

Her debut novel was published in 1993, and her breakthrough came three years later with Primeval and Other Times, which is set in a mythical village and traced Poland's history from World War One to the 1980s.

"She's a writer preoccupied by local life, but at the same time inspired by maps and speculative thought, looking at life from above," the judges said.

Her work "centres on migration and cultural transitions" and "is full of wit and cunning", they added.

Last year, she won the Man Booker International Prize for Flights, more than a decade after it was originally published in Poland.

The Nobel committee was also "very impressed" with her epic historical novel The Books of Jacob, set in the 18th Century, which "presents a rich panorama of a little-known chapter in European history".

Tokarczuk co-wrote the screenplay for the crime film Spoor, which was the country's entry for the best foreign language film at the 2018 Oscars.

A political activist who does not shy away from criticising Poland's right-wing government, she has become the 15th female winner of the Nobel Prize out of 116 literature laureates.”

Peter Handke:  plaudits and controversy

“Handke, credited as one of the most thought-provoking writers in the German language, burst onto the literary scene in the 1960s and "has for some decades been one of the most influential writers of contemporary fiction", the Nobel judges said.

His most popular works include A Sorrow Beyond Dreams, published in 1975, which dealt with his mother's suicide in 1971.

The committee members said they had also been "struck" by 2017 book Die Obstdiebin. "With great artistry, he explores the periphery and unseen places," they said.

He has also collaborated with film director Wim Wenders, including on the script for the Bafta-nominated 1987 film Wings of Desire.

But he is an outspoken figure, and some of his comments have proved offensive. He once denied the Serbian massacre at Srebenica and compared Serbia's fate to that of Jews during the Holocaust - although he later apologised for that "slip of the tongue".

In 1999 he returned Germany's prestigious Buechner prize in protest at Nato's bombing of Belgrade, and was forced to reject another German prize - the Heinrich Heine award - after an outcry in 2006.”

source: https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-49976107 [date of access: 11/2/2019]



Hanke gave a recent interview to “Vima.” To read the entire interview (in Greek) click here.


Many of Hanke’s works have been translated into Greek and/or performed on stage.  He is a beloved author of Greeks from the time his works were first published in Greek in the 1980s.

To see a complete list of Hanke’s works that circulate in Greek, click here.


Sources:  Το Βήμα and Καθημερινή