This year, we have been presented with two Nobel laureates for literature - Peter Handke and Olga Tokarczuk. Tokarczuk was awarded the Nobel for the year 2018 (but it was postponed in the year 2018 due to certain unforeseen complications at the Swedish Academy) and Peter Handke for the year 2019.

Olga Tokarczuk (born on 29 January 1962) is an accomplished Polish writer, activist and public intellectual who is known for her work that integrates reality with fantasy. She is the first female author to receive the Nobel Prize for literature since Herta Muller in 2009. Her works, which include “Flights” (which won her the Man Booker Prize last year) and “The Book of Jacob”, an insight into 18th century Europe, centres on the prevalent themes of migration and cultural transitions while being able to retain an element of amusement.

Quoting the Nobel committee, she was rewarded, “for a narrative imagination that with encyclopaedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries as a form of life”.

For 2019, Peter Handke (born on 6 December 1942) the 79-year-old Austrian playwright, novelist and poet received his Nobel for producing a myriad of thought-provoking and influential works in contemporary fiction.

His most popular works include, “A Sorrow Beyond Dreams” (published in 1975), which dealt with his mother’s suicide and the recently published “Die Obstdiebin” in which, quoting the Nobel committee- “with great artistry, he explores the periphery and unseen places”.

Though a great benefactor to literature, he does not have a clean slate- being an outspoken personality, he has been accused of letting out comments that have proved offensive. But in spite of the outcries, his works have every right to be acknowledged as they have in them a linguistic ingenuity and the ability to provoke thoughts in the minds of its readers.

Parvathi N.