Olga Tokarczuk awarded Nobel Prize in literature

The Swedish Academy announced on Thursday that the Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk received the Nobel Prize for literature for year 2018.

Ms Tokarczuk was awarded for “a narrative imagination that with encyclopaedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries as a form of life.”

Ms Tokarczuk is one of Poland’s most successful authors. She is no stranger to winning awards. In 2018, she already won the Man Booker International Prize for her novel “Flights” (translated by Jennifer Croft), becoming the first Polish writer to do so.

She is the eighth Pole to receive a Nobel Prize. Before her, laureates were Maria Curie Skłodowska (in 1903 in physics and 1911 in chemistry), Henryk Sienkiewicz (1905 in literature), Władysław Reymont (1924, literature), Czesław Miłosz (1980, literature), Lech Wałęsa (1983, peace prize), Józef Rotblat (1995, peace prize) and Wisława Szymborska (1996, literature).

This year, the Academy has given two awards for literature, for 2018 and 2019. It was caused by a scandal concerning Jean-Claude Arnault, a photographer and leading cultural figure in Sweden, who is married to Katarina Frostenson, an academy member and author.

In 2017, Swedish newspaper "Dagens Nyheter" published detailed allegations by 18 women accusing Mr Arnault of sexual harassment and physical abuse over a period of more than 20 years, in France and Sweden, and including at properties owned by the Academy.

The Nobel Prize for literature for 2019 was awarded to Peter Handke from Austria “for an influential work that with linguistic ingenuity has explored the periphery and the specificity of human experience.”