STOCKHOLM (REUTERS) Austria’s Peter Handke won the 2019 Nobel Prize for Literature, and the postponed 2018 award went to Polish author Olga Tokarczuk, the Swedish Academy said on Thursday.
Two Nobels were awarded this year after last year’s prize was postponed over a scandal that led to the husband of an Academy member being convicted of rape.
Since then, the organisation has appointed new members and reformed some of its more arcane rules after a rare intervention by its royal patron, the king of Sweden.
Handke, 76, won the 2019 prize for “an influential work that with linguistic ingenuity has explored the periphery and the specificity of human experience,” the Academy said in a statement.
The 2018 prize went to Tokarczuk for “a narrative imagination that with encyclopaedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries as a form of life.”
Handke established himself as one of the most influential writers in Europe after World War Two, the Academy said, with a body of work that contains novels, essays, notebooks and dramatic works.
He is also known for co-writing the script of the critically-acclaimed 1987 film “Wings of Desire”.
Tokarczuk, 57, trained as a psychologist before publishing her first novel in 1993. Since then, she has produced a steady and varied stream of works and her novel “Flight” won her the high-profile Man Booker International Prize last year.
She was the first Polish author to do so.
She has courted controversy in her native Poland by touching on dark areas of the country’s past that contrast with the version of history promoted by Poland’s ruling nationalist party, Law and Justice (PiS).