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Olga Tokarczuk Joins Kazuo Ishiguro in Pantheon of Winners of the Nobel Prize in Literature

Awarding the 2018 Nobel Prize for literature to Olga Tokarczuk in December 2019 the Nobel committee praised the Polish novelist "for a narrative imagination that with encyclopaedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries as a form of life." Tokarczuk follows fellow RCW author Kazuo Ishiguro who was awarded the prize the previous year for  "novels of great emotional force, [which] uncover the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world." RCW congratulates them both most warmly.

Tokarczuk said in her statement that:

"I first learned that I had won the Nobel prize in the oddest circumstances - on the motorway, somewhere "In Between", at a place with no name. I can't think of a better metaphor to define the world we're living in today. Nowadays we writers are having to confront ever more improbable challenges, and yet literature is a slow-moving art - the lengthy process of writing makes it difficult to catch the world in the act. I often wonder if it's still possible to describe the world at all, or if we're already too helpless in the face of its increasingly fluid shape, the dissolving of fixed points and disappearing values. I believe in a literature that unites people and shows us how very similar we are, that makes us aware of the fact that we're all joined together by invisible threads. That tells the story of the world as if it were a living and unified whole, constantly developing before our eyes, in which we are just a small but at the same time powerful part. My congratulations to Peter Handke for his Nobel prize. I'm very pleased that we both come from the same part of the world."

— Translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones and Jennifer Croft.

Photos: Alexander Mahmoud © Nobel Media.

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