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European writers win literature Nobels

by Rachel Lynn Aldrich
Posted 10/10/19, 11:47 am

The Nobel literature committee picked controversial winners in Olga Tokarczuk of Poland and Peter Handke of Austria. The Swedish Academy handed out the double prize for literature on Thursday after canceling last year’s award due to a sex abuse scandal involving committee members.

What are the winners known for? The Swedish Academy said Handke, 76, explores “the periphery and the specificity of human experience.” The writer has faced backlash for denying that Serbia committed ethnic cleansing during the Balkan wars in the 1990s. He spoke at the funeral of former Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic, who faced charges of war crimes after NATO intervened to stop the war. Tokarczuk, 57, wrote novels that explored and criticized Poland’s past, including anti-Semitism. Polish conservatives have derided her work.

Dig deeper: Read why the Swedish Academy canceled last year’s literature prize in Onize Ohikere’s report for The Sift. Then read about the winners of this year’s Nobel Prize in chemistry and physics.

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Rachel Lynn Aldrich

Rachel is an assistant editor for WORLD Digital. She is a Patrick Henry College and World Journalism Institute graduate. Rachel resides with her husband in Wheaton, Ill.

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