Austrian Handke and Poland’s Tokarczuk win Nobel literature prizes

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The permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, Mats Malm, announces the winners of the 2018 and 2019 Nobel Prize in Literature in Stockholm, Sweden, Thursday Oct. 10, 2019. ( AP)
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(COMBO) This combination of pictures created on October 10, 2019 shows Polish author Olga Tokarczuk (L) on September 17, 2018 in Krakow and Austrian novelist and playwright Peter Handke on November 22, 2012 in Salzburg, Austria. (AFP)
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The Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy, Mats Malm, announces Olga Tokarczuk as the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature 2018 and Peter Handke as the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature 2019, in Stockholm, Sweden, October 10, 2019. (Reuters)
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Books of Austrian novelist and playwright Peter Handke and a drawing depicting him (background) are displayed at the headquarters of his German editor Suhrkamp Verlag on October 10, 2019 in Berlin.(AFP)
Updated 10 October 2019

Austrian Handke and Poland’s Tokarczuk win Nobel literature prizes

  • Two Nobel prizes for literature awarded after 2018 scandal
  • Handke one of Europe’s most influential post-war writers

STOCKHOLM: Austrian writer Peter Handke won the 2019 Nobel Prize for Literature on Thursday and the 2018 award went to Polish author Olga Tokarczuk, the Swedish Academy said on Thursday.
Handke, 76, was recognized for a body of work which includes novels, essays, notebooks and drama and “that with linguistic ingenuity has explored the periphery and the specificity of human experience,” the Academy said in a statement.
Tokarczuk, 57, won for “a narrative imagination that with encyclopaedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries as a form of life,” it said.
Both have courted controversy — Handke for his portrayal of Serbia as a victim during the Balkan wars and attending its leader’s funeral, and Tokarczuk for touching on dark areas of Poland’s past that contrast with the version of history promoted by the country’s ruling nationalist party.
Two prizes were awarded this year after last year’s award was postponed over a scandal that led to the husband of an Academy member being convicted of rape.
Since then, the organization has appointed new members and reformed some of its more arcane rules after a rare intervention by its royal patron, the king of Sweden.
Academy member Anders Olsson said both Handke and Tokarczuk had accepted their prizes.
“I only talked to Peter Handke myself. He was very, very moved. At first he did not utter any words,” Olsson said.
He added: “It is not a political prize, it is a literary prize.”

CONTROVERSIES
Handke established himself as one of the most influential writers in Europe after World War Two, the Academy said. He also co-wrote the script of the critically-acclaimed 1987 film “Wings of Desire.”
The author of books such as “The Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick” and “Slow Homecoming,” he attracted widespread criticism attending the funeral of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic in 2006.

British writer Salman Rushdie once criticized him for “a series of impassioned apologias for the genocidal regime of Slobodan Milosevic.”
Tokarczuk trained as a psychologist before publishing her first novel in 1993. Since then, she has produced a steady and varied stream of works and her novel “Flight” won her the high-profile Man Booker International Prize last year. She was the first Polish author to do so.
Though some of the episodes she has written about contrast with version of history promoted by Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS), her agent said the award should not be seen in the context of a parliamentary election being held on Sunday in Poland.
Speaking on Polish television, Poland’s culture minister, Piotr Glinski, said the award to Tokarczuk was a success for Polish culture.
“I think that Mrs.Tokarczuk also perceives this that way, because she is a representative of Polish culture and Polish literature,” he said.


Disney World to reopen as coronavirus cases surge in Florida

Updated 7 min 39 sec ago

Disney World to reopen as coronavirus cases surge in Florida

  • The reopening comes as a huge surge of Floridians have tested positive for the new coronavirus in recent weeks
  • All of Disney’s Orlando parks closed in mid-March in an effort to stop the virus’s spread
ORLANDO, Florida: “The Most Magical Place on Earth” is reopening after nearly four months with new rules in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom are reopening Saturday, while Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will follow four days later.
The reopening comes as a huge surge of Floridians have tested positive for the new coronavirus in recent weeks. Many cities and counties around the state have recently reinstated restrictions that had been lifted in May, when cases seemed to drop.
All of Disney’s Orlando parks closed in mid-March in an effort to stop the virus’s spread. Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando closed around the same time but reopened several weeks ago after instituting similar rules to protect employees and customers from the virus.
Disney’s new rules include mandatory masks and social distancing. Visitors will need reservations to enter a park, and they won’t be allowed to hop between parks. Both visitors and employees will receive temperature checks when they enter. Fireworks shows and parades have been suspended to prevent drawing too many people together.
Disney has been opening its parks back up around the globe for the past two months. In May, the company opened Disney Springs, a complex of shops, restaurants and entertainment venues in Lake Buena Vista.