Olga Tokarczuk delivers Nobel lecture in literature

Olga Tokarczuk, a Polish author and the winner of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature, dedicated her lecture at the Swedish Academy in Stockholm to the political and climate crisis she believes that world is gripped by today.

The Polish writer stressed that tenderness is the human trait which should guide us forward as it allows people to see the world as a living entity in which things are interconnected, cooperating and mutually dependent.

“I write fiction, but it is never pure fabrication. When I write, I have to feel everything inside myself. I have to let all the living beings and objects that appear in the book go through me, everything that is human and beyond human, everything that is living and not endowed with life,” said Ms Tokarczuk.

“That is what tenderness serves me for ― because tenderness is the art of personifying, of sharing feelings, and thus endlessly discovering similarities,” she added.

The author also spoke at length about what she deems to be the reasons behind the current political and climate crisis.

“Greed, failure to respect nature, selfishness, lack of imagination, endless rivalry and lack of responsibility have reduced the world to the status of an object that can be cut into pieces, used up and destroyed,” Ms Tokarczuk said, adding that “That is why I believe I must tell stories as if the world were a living, single entity, constantly forming before our eyes, and as if we were a small and at the same time powerful part of it.”

Last year, the academy was rocked by a #MeToo sex-scandal, forcing it to postpone naming the 2018 Nobel Prize winner in literature to this year. As a result of the academy’s decision, the 2018 winner, Olga Tokarczuk, and the 2019 winner, Peter Handke, both held their Nobel lectures on Saturday.