The Nobel Prizes in Literature for 2018 and 2019 were announced at The Swedish Academy in Stockholm on Thursday, the 10th of October, 2019. Olga Tokarczuk wins the 2018 Nobel. And the 2019 winner is Peter Handke. The Nobel is considered to be the most high ranking award in the literary world. The prize is given to, in the words of the will of Alfred Nobel: “the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction.”
The selections follow an unprecedented postponement in last year’s prize announcement when the functioning of the Swedish Academy was hit by a scandal. Both laureates will receive 9 million Swedish Kronor each, a gold medal and a diploma.
Tokarczuk is a distinguished novelist who lends unconventional, subversive flavors to her writings, challenging notions. She’s an environmentalist, humanist, an animal lover and a political activist who does not shy away from making bold invocations. Olga Tokarczuk, author of ‘Ksiegi Jakubowe’ (‘The Books of Jacob’), won the prize “for a narrative imagination that with encyclopedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries as a form of life,” the jury said. She’s described by the Swedish Academy as “someone who never views reality as something stable or everlasting. She constructs her novels in a tension between cultural opposites; nature versus culture, reason versus madness, male versus female, home versus alienation”.
Peter Handke on the other end is a renowned playwright, novelist, poet, and a lover of art and nature. Handke has written on different genres over his entire career and is considered to be one of the most influential writers in the literary industry in Europe. Handke has won the prize “for an influential work that with linguistic ingenuity has explored the periphery and the specificity of human experience,” said Mats Malm, Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy. The Academy praised Peter Handke’s work which, it said, “is the extraordinary attention to landscapes and the material presence of the world, which has made cinema and painting two of his greatest sources of inspiration.”