Polish author Olga Tokarczuk wins 2018 Man Booker International Prize

25 May, 2018, 10:03 | Author: Veronica Peterson
  • Jennifer Croft translates from Polish Spanish and Ukrainian having studied for an MFA in literary translation at the University of Iowa and lived in Argentina and Poland

An author described as "one of the greatest living writers you have never heard of" has become the first Polish victor of the International Man Booker Prize.

The judging panel led by writer Lisa Appignanesi called Flights a witty, playful novel in which "the contemporary condition of perpetual movement" meets the certainty of death.

Olga Tokarczuk scooped the £50,000 prize for her novel, Flights, along with her translator, Jennifer Croft. The novel, translated by Jennifer Croft, interweaves narratives of travel with explorations of the human body.

Tokarczuk, 56, was born in Poland.

"We loved the voice of the narrative - it's one that moves from wit and gleeful mischief to real emotional texture and has the ability to create character very quickly, with interesting digression and speculation", The Guardian quoted Appignanesi as saying. Now resident in Los Angeles, she is a founding editor of the Buenos Aires Review.

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In a television interview at the time, she said Poland liked to think of itself as an "open, tolerant country", but would not acknowledge its poor historical treatment of Jews and other minority groups. Since 2016, it has rewarded an English-language translation of a single work of global literature.

The Man Booker International Prize is awarded by the same organisation that gives the Man Booker Prize for fiction.

She was shortlisted for her meditative novel "The White Book" and had earned the honor in 2016 for "The Vegetarian".

Tokarczuk and Croft were presented with their awards on Tuesday night at a ceremony in London's Victoria and Albert Museum.

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