10 October 2019 13:48

Poland's president and culture minister have congratulated writer Olga Tokarczuk for winning the 2018 Nobel Prize in literature.

olga tokarczuk

FILE--In this March 15, 2017 photo Polish author Olga Tokarczuk attends a lection in Cologne, Germany. Olga Tokarczuk is named recipient of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature, Thursday Oct. 10, 2019. Two Nobel Prizes in literature are announced Thursday after the 2018 literature award was postponed following sex abuse allegations that rocked the Swedish Academy at that time. (Joerg Carstensen/dpa via AP) STOCKHOLM (AP) — The Latest on the awarding of the 2019 Nobel Prizes (all times local): Olga Tokarczuk's Polish publishers say they are "overjoyed" by the awarding of the Nobel Prize in literature to a writer they have worked with for 18 years. Sebastian Nowak of the Wydawnictwo Literackie said Thursday the award "confirms the great scope and power of her prose.

The Latest: Tokarczuk feted for Nobel literature prize

She is our precious national asset." Nowak said the publishers could not immediately reach Tokarczuk because she was "driving somewhere on a German highway" from Dortmund, where she met with readers on Wednesday, to another location. She has a meeting in Bielefeld later in the day, according to the German news agency dpa. Nowak said her prose was "universal and crossed all boundaries of age and politics." All her books are available in Polish under the Wydawnictwo Literackie label. Last year, Tokarczuk was the first ever Polish writer to win the International Booker award for her book "Flights." The Polish title is "Bieguni." The 57-year-old writer lives in Wroclaw, in southwestern Poland, and also spends time in the wilderness of nearby valleys. Culture Minister Piotr Glinski, who said this week he has not finished any of her books, tweeted congratulations after the award and said he will try again. Polish novelist Olga Tokarczuk is the first woman this year to be awarded a Nobel Prize — although strictly speaking her prize is for 2018. The nine winners of this year's science prizes were all men. Tokarczuk is only the 15th woman to win the Nobel literature prize in more than a century and the first since Belarusian journalist Svetlana Alexievich in 2015. Last year, three women received prizes — Donna Strickland in physics; Frances H. Arnold in chemistry; and Nadia Muras won the Nobel Peace Prize. With Tokarczuk, that number has been raised to four for 2018. According to the official website of the Nobel Prize, 53 women have been honored in all categories since 1901. The first woman to get the literature prize was Swedish author Selma Lagerlof in 1909. Poland's president and culture minister have congratulated writer Olga Tokarczuk for winning the 2018 Nobel Prize in literature. President Andrzej Duda called it a "great day for Polish literature" on Twitter and said: "Another Polish writer, after the poet Wislawa Szymborska, receives the literary Nobel Prize. Bravo!" Szymborska received the prize in 1996. Tokarczuk, 57, is one of Poland's best-known authors. But she has also been criticized by Polish conservatives — and received death threats — for criticizing aspects of the country's past, including its episodes of anti-Semitism. She is also a strong critic of Poland's right-wing government. Culture Minister Piotr Glinski, who only days ago confessed to having tried reading her works but not making it through any of them, also congratulated her. On Thursday he said he would try harder now and claimed her accomplishment for Poland. He said: "A Nobel Prize is a clear sign that Polish culture is well appreciated in the world." Peter Handke is known as a provocative author who hasn't shied away from courting controversy or, as one of his works is titled, "Offending the Audience," in a career spanning more than five decades. Handke's debut novel in 1966 was "The Hornets." Also that year, "Offending the Audience" made its debut in a Frankfurt theater, confronting elegantly dressed theatergoers as "good-for-nothings." His 1970 novel "The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick," the story of a former sportsman, was filmed by Wim Wenders. Handke was an opponent of NATO's airstrikes against Serbia in the Kosovo war of the late 1990s and spoke in 2006 at the funeral of former Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic. Austria's president is congratulating Peter Handke on winning the Nobel Prize in literature, praising his "fascinating" works and declaring it a great day for literature. Alexander Van der Bellen wrote on Twitter that Handke's "quiet and intense voice has for decades designed worlds, places and people who couldn't be more fascinating." He described Handke's tone as "unfussy and unique," and said that "we have a lot to thank Peter Handke for. I hope he knows that." The chair of the Nobel Committee of the Swedish Academy says the 18-member Academy picked four members from own its ranks and five "externals" to select the shortlist for the 2018 and 2019 literature prizes. Story continues

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