Olga Tokarczuk, Peter Handke Named Nobel Prize Winners for Literature in 2018 and 2019

Olga Tokarczuk, Peter Handke Named Nobel Prize Winners for Literature in 2018 and 2019

Olga Tokarczuk and Peter Handke have won the Nobel Prize for literature.

The Swedish Academy announced Polish novelist and activist Olga Tokarczuk and Austrian author Peter Handke winners for the 2018 and 2019 Nobel Prizes for Literature on Thursday.

Tokarczuk,  won the 2018 award, and was cited by the committee for her “narrative imagination that with encyclopedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries as a form of life”.

In 2018, Tokarczuk,  won the Man Booker International Award for her novel Flights.

The Nobel committee’s Anders Olsson said her work, which “centers on migration and cultural transitions”, was “full of wit and cunning”.


Tokarczuk 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. And this is only possible if both poles are anchored in the narrative.

The 2018 Prize was delayed for a year after a sexual assault scandal engulfed the Swedish Academy. 


On the other hand, Handke was named the 2019 winner, cited for “an influential work that with linguistic ingenuity has explored the periphery and the specificity of human experience.”

“More than fifty years later, having produced a great number of works in different genres, he has established himself as one of the most influential writers in Europe after the Second World War. His bibliography contains novels, essays, notebooks, dramatic works, and screenplays.

Since 1990 he has been based in Chaville, southwest of Paris, and from here he has made many productive journeys.

His works are filled with a strong desire to discover and to make his discoveries come to live by finding new literary expressions for them. As he has claimed:

“To be receptive is everything”.

With this as his objective, he manages to charge even the smallest of details in everyday experience with explosive significance.