STOCKHOLM: Polish author Olga Tokarczuk and Austria’s Peter Handke have been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Two winners were named – one for 2019 and one for 2018 – because last year’s prize was not awarded. The Swedish Academy, which oversees the prestigious award, suspended it last year after a sexual assault scandal.
Tokarczuk, who also won the Man Booker International Prize last year, was awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize, with this year’s Nobel going to Handke.
The 76-year-old Austrian playwright and novelist was recognised for “an influential work that with linguistic ingenuity has explored the periphery and the specificity of human experience”, the academy said in a statement.
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”.
Each winning writer receives nine million Swedish kronor (£740,000), as well as a medal and a diploma.
The 2018 prize was delayed by a year after a crisis in the academy sparked by allegations against Jean-Claude Arnault, the husband of Academy member Katarina Frostenson. He was sentenced to two years in prison in October after being convicted of rape.
Frostenson stepped down, and the events also led to allegations of conflict of interest and the leaking of Nobel winners’ names. It all resulted in “reduced public confidence in the Academy”, according to the awards body.