Swedish academy announces Nobel Prize for Literature for 2018 and 2019

Author Margaret Atwood reads an extract during the launch of her new novel The Testaments at a book store in London Britain

Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood is being talked about as a possible winner this year

A year after the Swedish Academy canceled the Nobel Prize for literature amid a sexual abuse and financial misconduct scandal, the organization awarded the honor to not one but two authors Thursday.

Austrian novelist, playwright, and translator Peter Handke was cited by the Academy as winning the 2019 award "for an influential work that with linguistic ingenuity has explored the periphery and the specificity of human experience".

The Swedish Academy's decision to bestow the 2018 Nobel Prize in literature on Polish author Olga Tokarczuk has given a rare morale boost to liberal Poles only three days before a national election that is likely to be won by the country's right-wing populist party. She herself has said her literary work has been deeply inspired by Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung.

With this, the academy has now given away 112 Nobel Prizes in Literature to 116 individuals - the honour was shared between two persons on four occasions.

She won the Booker International Prize in 2018 for "Flights", which combines tales of modern-day travel with the story of a 17th-century anatomist who dissected his own amputated leg and the journey of composer Frederic Chopin's heart from Paris to Warsaw after his death.

"Olga Tokarczuk is an outstanding representative of the elites hated by Kaczynski", said Tomasz Lis, the editor of Newsweek Polska.

"The novel is an excellent example of new Polish literature after 1989, resisting moral judgement and unwilling to represent the conscience of the nation".

She is also the first female Nobel recipient so far in 2019. Translated into numerous languages including English, it anchored her global reputation as a literary spearhead of her generation in Poland.

Two prizes were awarded in 2019, as no Nobel Prize for literature was given out in 2018.

The recipient of this year's award was Austrian writer Peter Handke.

Dating back to 1786, the Swedish Academy is making strong moves to fix its reputation after the scandal exposed scheming, conflicts of interest, harassment and a culture of silence among its 18 members, long esteemed as the country's guardians of culture.

Sara Danius, centre, was one of seven members to quit the Swedish Academy.

After the scandal, the Academy has also made changes to its panel, bringing in several new members since a year ago.

"It is shameful that the Nobel Prize committee easily neglected the fact that Handke was justifying and protecting Slobodan Milosevic and his executors (Bosnian Serb wartime leader) Radovan Karadzic and (his army chief) Ratko Mladic sentenced by a United Nations court ... for the most severe war crimes including genocide", he said in a statement.

Other institutions in Sweden and Norway were given the task to find winners for the other Nobel Prizes.

The laureates will receive their honours at an elegant ceremony on December 10 - the anniversary of Nobel's death in 1896 - in Stockholm and in Oslo.

The Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded on Friday, Oct. 11.

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