The Nobel Prize in Literature 2018
Born: 29 January 1962, Sulechów, Poland
Residence at the time of the award: Wroclaw, Poland
Prize motivation: “for a narrative imagination that with encyclopedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries as a form of life”
Olga Tokarczuk received her Nobel Prize in 2019.
Prize share: 1/1
Olga Tokarczuk was born in Sulechów in Poland, and lives in Wrocław. Her parents were teachers and her father also functioned as school librarian. In the library she read pretty much everything she could get hold of and it was here that she developed her literary appetite. After studies in psychology at the University of Warsaw she made her debut as a fiction writer 1993 with Podróz ludzi Ksiegi (The Journey of the Book-People). Her real breakthrough came in 1996 with her third novel Prawiek i inne czasy (Primeval and Other Times).
Olga Tokarczuk is inspired by maps and a perspective from above, which tends to make her microcosmos a mirror of macrocosmos. She constructs her novels in a tension between cultural opposites: nature versus culture, reason versus madness, male versus female, home versus alienation. Her magnum opus so far is the historical novel Ksiegi Jakubowe (2014) (The Books of Jacob), portraying the 18th-century mystic and sect leader Jacob Frank. The work also gives us a remarkably rich panorama of an almost neglected chapter in European history.
Their work and discoveries range from the Earth’s climate and our sense of touch to efforts to safeguard freedom of expression.
See them all presented here.