Two Nobel literature prizes to be awarded after sexual assault scandal

Atwood and Murakami among favourites for prize as academy tries to rebuild its reputation

Jon Henley @jonhenley

Thu 10 Oct 2019 09.32 BSTLast modified on Thu 10 Oct 2019 10.13 BST


edited by kcontents

The Nobel prize in literature will be awarded twice on Thursday, after the Swedish body that selects the laureates was engulfed in a sexual assault scandal that forced it to postpone the 2018 ceremony.

GN39593 Graphic shows recent winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature.


2019 노벨문학상 수상자...2018년도 토카르축· 2019년도 한트케 수상

    폴란드 여성작가 올카 토카르축(57)와 오스트리아 작가 페터 한트케(77)가 노벨문학상을 수상했다.

스웨덴 한림원은 10일(현지시간) 토카르축와 한트케를 각각 2018년과 2019년도 노벨문학상 수상자로 선정했다고 발표했다.

토카르축은 지난해 맨부커상 수상에 이어 올해 노벨문학상을 받아 2년 연속 영예를 안았다. 토카르축은 현재 폴란드에서 가장 두터운 독자층을 확보하고 있는 작가다. 신화와 전설, 외전(外典), 비망록 등 다양한 장르를 차용해 인간의 실존적 고독, 소통의 부재, 이율배반적인 욕망 등을 특유의 예리하면서도 섬세한 시각으로 포착한다.

그는 등단 초부터 대중과 평단으로부터 고른 관심과 호응을 받았다. 등단작 ‘책의 인물들의 여정’(1993)은 폴란드 출판인협회가 선정하는 ‘올해의 책’으로 뽑혔다. 세 번째 장편소설 ‘태고의 시간들’(1996)은 40대 이전의 작가들에게 수여하는 문학상인 코시치엘스키 문학상을 탔으며, 폴란드에서 가장 권위 있는 문학상인 니케 문학상의 ‘독자들이 뽑은 최고의 작품’으로 선정됐다. 또한 니케 문학상 대상 수상작 ‘방랑자들’(2007)은 영어판 ‘Flights’로 2018년 맨부커상 인터내셔널 부분을 수상했다.

그 외 작품으로 ‘E. E.’(1995), ‘낮의 집, 밤의 집’(1998), ‘세상의 무덤 속 안나 인’(2006), ‘망자의 뼈에 쟁기를 휘둘러라’(2009), 니케 문학상 대상 수상작 ‘야고보서’(2014) 등이 있다.



Among the favourites are the author of The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood, and the poet Anne Carson, both from Canada, the novelist Maryse Condé, from the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, the Japanese author Haruki Murakami and the Kenyan writer Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o.

The Swedish Academy, founded in 1786, is thought likely to try to avoid any controversy as it seeks to rebuild its reputation after the scandal exposed harassment, furious infighting, conflicts of interest and a culture of secrecy among its 18 members, who are elected for life and seen as the country’s guardians of culture.

The poet Katarina Frostenson was among seven academy members who left the body after bitter rows over how to handle rape accusations made in 2017 against her husband, Frenchman Jean-Claude Arnault, who was also accused of leaking the names of several prize winners.

The couple ran a cultural club in Stockholm that was part-funded by the academy, and several of the assaults committed by Arnault – who is now serving a prison sentence for rape – took place in academy-owned properties.

The academy has since made changes that it says will improve transparency, including allowing members to voluntarily resign, which they could not previously do. It has also pledged to review its lifetime membership policy and appointed five members to its selection committee from outside the body.

Seven new members have been appointed and a respected literature professor, Mats Malm, took over as permanent secretary in June after the resignation of his predecessor, Sara Danius.

The Nobel Foundation, which funds the literary world’s most prestigious prize, said the academy still needed to do more. “I think they can – and to some extent they have already begun doing so – act more openly than they have done in the past and I think that would be a good thing,” said Lars Heikensten, the executive director of the Nobel Foundation, who in May gave the academy the green light to crown a laureate in 2019.

edited by kcontents

“Our reputation is everything,” Heikensten said. “Obviously it is important to avoid this kind of situation we have been in and of course it cannot be repeated.”

A Swedish literary critic, Madeleine Levy, told Agence-France Presse: “The Nobel prize is for many now associated with #MeToo … and a dysfunctional organisation.”

It seems almost certain that at least one of the laureates will be a woman. The Polish writers Olga Tokarczuk and Hanna Krall, South Korea’s Han Kang, Joyce Carol Oates of the US and the Russian novelist Lyudmila Ulitskaya have all been mentioned as contenders. Only 14 of the 114 laureates since 1901 have been women.

Another male writer thought to be in with a chance is the Romanian novelist Mircea Cărtărescu.

Previous winners of the prize include Bob Dylan (2016), Alice Munro (2013), Orhan Pamuk (2006), Toni Morrison (2003) and Gabriel García Márquez (1982).

One academy member, Anders Olsson, said the committee had looked for a more diverse shortlist this year and tried to move away from a “male-oriented” and “Eurocentric perspective of literature”.


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