Two Nobel literature prize winners announced after scandal-hit year

Olga Tokarczuk and Peter Handke were honoured for 2018 and 2019 respectively.

Mats Malm
Mats Malm

The 2018 Nobel Prize in literature has been awarded to Polish author Olga Tokarczuk.

The prize, postponed from last year following sex abuse allegations that rocked the Swedish Academy, was awarded to Tokarczuk “for a narrative imagination that with encyclopedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries as a form of life”.

The 2019 prize went to Austrian author Peter Handke.

Mats Malm, the Academy’s permanent secretary, says Handke was honoured “for an influential work that with linguistic ingenuity has explored the periphery and the specificity of human experience”.

Anders Olsson, chair of the Nobel Committee of the Swedish Academy, said a short-list was made up of eight names, of which two were picked for the 2018 and 2019 awards.

With the prize comes a 9 million kronor (£741,000) cash award, a gold medal and a diploma.

The laureates will receive their prizes at a ceremony in Stockholm on December 10, the anniversary of Nobel’s death in 1896, alongside five other Nobel winners.

The sixth award, the peace prize, is handed out in Oslo, Norway, on the same day. Its winner will be announced this Friday.

The literature prize was cancelled last year after a mass exodus at the Swedish Academy following the sex abuse allegations.

Jean-Claude Arnault, the husband of a former Academy member, was convicted last year of two rapes in 2011. Arnault also allegedly leaked the name of Nobel Prize literature winners seven times.

In March, the foundation behind the literature award said the Academy had revamped itself and restored trust.

The Nobel Foundation had warned another group could be picked to award the prize if the Academy did not improve its tarnished image.

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