World Media

Two Nobel Prizes in Literature awarded after sex scandal rocked Academy

Nobel Literature

In the library, "she read pretty much everything she could get hold of", the Academy says in a biography of the author.

Born in Sulechow, Poland on January 29, 1962, as the daughter of teachers, she now lives in Wroclaw. Last year, Tokarczuk became the first Polish writer to win Britain's Man Booker Prize for International Literature for her novel Flights. Her magnum opus, the committee said, was the historical novel Księgi Jakubowe, or "The Books of Jacob", published in 2014. As the Swedish Academy wrote on its website, the author claimed that it was her personal attempt to "come to terms with the national image of the past".

The Academy called it a "remarkably rich panorama of an nearly neglected chapter in European history".

The academy praised Peter Handke's work which, it said, "is the extraordinary attention to landscapes and the material presence of the world, which has made cinema and painting two of his greatest sources of inspiration".

Many know the 76-year-old's works such as The Goalie's Anxiety At The Penalty Kick and the screenplay Wings Of Desire, both of which ended up as films directed by longtime friend Wim Wenders.

Handke was born in Austria in 1942.

The Swedish Academy, which oversees the prestigious award, suspended it previous year after a sexual assault scandal. The Swedish Academy took the unusual move after it was forced to postpone the announcement a year ago over a scandal.

Tokarczuk, a leading Polish novelist and political activist who has criticised her country's right-wing government, became the 15th female victor of the Nobel prize.

Now revamped with new members and statutes, it is widely expected to pick writers who will not spark further controversy, and at least one is nearly certain to be a woman, literary critics interviewed by AFP predicted. The Swedish Academy was founded in 1786 by Swedish King Gustav III. It's unclear whether the academy members simply rubber-stamped the experts' choice.

In a shock move, the Swedish Academy - itself forced to postpone last year's ceremony after a sex scandal which culminated with the husband of an Academician being jailed for rape - snubbed favourites like Handmaid's Tale author Margaret Atwood and Haruki Murakami, known for novels like 1Q84.

The Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded by the Swedish Academy since 1901.

In his will, Swedish industrialist and inventor of dynamite, Alfred Nobel specifically designated the Swedish Academy as the institution responsible for the Nobel Prize for literature.

The Nobel Foundation announced in March that it planned to double up on the literary awards after last year's controversy, which cut the number of Swedish Academy voters from 18 to 11. That prize went to another writer.

He famously won the Heinrich Heine Prize in 2006, only to have the prize rescinded. The latter were honored for finding an exoplanet - a planet outside our solar system - that orbits a solar-type star.