Tokarczuk: my acceptance speech might have influenced Polish parliamentary elections

TVN24

Olga Tokarczuk, Nobel Prize Literature laureate 2018, speaks at a press conference at the Swedish Academy in Stockholmtvn24
wideo 2/10

"My spontaneous reaction was to dedicate this award to the democratic movement in Poland and I asked people to vote for democracy and against totalitarian tendencies and this speech of mine was quite warmly received and I think it might have had some influence on the elections," Olga Tokarczuk said at a press conference at the Swedish Academy in Stockholm on Friday, marking the start of the Nobel Week. During the following days, the laureates will give press conferences and hold their Nobel Lectures. The week culminates in the Nobel Prize award ceremony and banquet on 10 December and ends with visits to the Nobel Foundation. The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in Oslo, Norway.

Olga Tokarczuk will receive the Nobel Prize on Tuesday from the hands of Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf at a formal ceremony with this year's other laureates. The ceremony will be followed by a gala banquet.

THE CEREMONY OF HANDING THE NOBEL AWARD WILL BE BROADCASTED ON TVN24 AND TVN24.PL FROM 16.30.

Award dedicated to the democratic movement in Poland

Tokarczuk, 57, 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 "Flights" won her the high-profile Man Booker International Prize last year. She was the first Polish author to do so.

Because a sexual assault scandal at the Swedish Academy led to the 2018 award being postponed, Polish author, who was named as the 2018 winner this October, will receive her prize on Tuesday.

Tokarczuk, 57, has courted controversy for touching on dark areas of Poland's past that contrast with the version of history promoted by the country's ruling nationalist party - Law and Justice (PiS).

"My spontaneous reaction was to dedicate this award to the democratic movement in Poland and I asked people to vote for democracy and against totalitarian tendencies and this speech of mine was quite warmly received and I think it might have had some influence on the elections," Olga Tokarczuk said at the conference in Stockholm on Friday.

"I especially think that this prize gave the Poles some good energy because we are a very divided society and there are many things going on when it comes to hard hateful emotions and things like that and it might have given a feeling of more commonness," said the Polish writer.

"I'm proud to be the fifteenth woman to receive the Nobel prize and 110 years after the first woman, (Swedish author) Selma Lagerlof received it," Tokarczuk added.

A week of lectures, news conferences, public engagements and festivities culminates with the Nobel awards ceremony and royal banquet on Tuesday (December 10).

Haunted by Milosevic's spectre

Austrian writer Peter Handke, winner of the 2019 Nobel literature prize, said on Friday he preferred anonymous hate mail to questions about his support for Slobodan Milosevic, Serbia's strongman during the Balkan wars of the 1990s.

The Swedish Academy's choice of Handke has been widely criticised because he has expressed support for Milosevic, who died in detention at the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

Handke, author of "The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick" and "Slow Homecoming", spoke at Milosevic's funeral in 2006.

The writer met the media in Stockholm, where he is due to collect his award on Tuesday.

Asked whether he accepted that a massacre at Srebrenica in Bosnia had taken place, a visibly trembling Handke answered by saying he had received many letters of support from readers after he was awarded the 9 million Swedish crown prize in October.

But he said he had also received one anonymous letter which had toilet paper in it. It had a kind of "calligraphy of shit", he said.

The 77-year-old said he wanted to thank readers for their letters of support, but refused to speak about the former Yugoslavia. "I don't want to answer any of your questions," he told the room full of journalists.

Protests are planned on Tuesday in Stockholm when Sweden's king presents Handke with the award.

Autor: gf / Źródło: TVN24 News in English, PAP, Reuters