2018 and 2019 Nobel Prizes in Literature Awarded to Olga Tokarczuk and Peter Handke


Two Nobel Prizes in Literature were awarded this year: one to Peter Handke from Austria and one to Olga Tokarczuk from Poland. Awarding two laureates at once is uncommon and comes after a scandal upended the Swedish Academy last year. 57-year-old Tokarczuk, 2018’s winner, was chosen for her “narrative imagination that with encyclopedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries as a form of life,” per the judges’ citation obtained by NPR. Handke, 76, was honored for his “influential work that with linguistic ingenuity has explored the periphery and the specificity of human experience.”

Tokarczuk’s Nobel Prize is long overdue. In 2018, Jean-Claude Arnault, husband of then–Swedish Academy member Katarina Frostenson, was accused of (and eventually convicted of) rape, prompting the resignation of several board members, including the former head. Arnault was also accused of leaking Nobel Prize winners to place large bets. After losing so many members, the Academy found itself incapable of choosing a 2018 winner. It was the first year since World War II without a laureate. This year appears to be running much more smoothly. The ceremony will take place in December and the Nobel Peace Prize is set to be announced Friday, October 11.

Double Nobel Prizes Awarded to Peter Handke, Olga Tokarczuk