Thanks to the troubling state of affairs with the Swedish Academy in 2018, which led to no Nobel Prize in Literature being awarded that year, today we get two winners.
Polish author Olga Tokarczuk was awarded for the 2018 prize — congratulations to her and to her English translator Jennifer Croft! Tokarczuk’s work is becoming more and more available in English. Her novel Flights won the 2018 Man International Prize (see Paul’s review here).
Austrian author Peter Handke was awarded for the 2019 prize. His award will get criticism due to his support for Slobodan Milosevic even after Milosevic was charged with genocide and other war crimes; Milosevic died of a heart attack in his cell before any verdict was rendered.
John Self, at The Irish Times, also notes other criticism the award could get. A week after Chair of the Nobel committee said that “previously we had a more eurocentric perspective of literature” and noted that the prize would be more global. It doesn’t appear that bore fruit this year as both authors are European. But I’m very happy that one of them is Tokarczuk. We should be getting more of her work soon, and from what I’ve seen that is great news.