Nobel prize winner Olga Tokarczuk calls for democracy revival in Poland


Polish author Olga Tokarczuk, who on Thursday (October 10) was named the 2018 winner of the Nobel literature prize, said that her win showed that despite her country's problems with democracy, Poles still had something to say.


Speaking to reporters ahead of a lecture in the German town of Bielefeld, Tokarczuk said the prize being awarded to a central European country was "unusual" and "incredible".

"I know that I am quite a good writer, but I never thought that in my life I would win this kind of prize, so I think that I have to change my mind completely now. But I'm also very happy that there are two of us - Peter Handke, the big Austrian writer and this prize is going to central Europe, which is unusual, incredible in fact," Tokarczuk said at a meeting with journalists.

Austrian writer Peter Handke won the 2019 Nobel Prize for Literature on Thursday and Polish author Olga Tokarczuk was named as the 2018 winner after a sexual assault scandal led to last year's award being postponed.

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.

Tokarczuk's comments come ahead Poland's general election on Sunday (October 13), which she said presents a chance for improving democracy in the country.

"For me as a Polish (person) it shows that despite all those problems with democracy in my country, we still have something to say to the world and we have very strong literature, very strong culture and I am part of this big, big power which is in my country, in central Poland, in central Europe," said the Nobel Prize winner.

Opinion polls show the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party is set to win the election despite criticism that it has weakened democracy through increased control over the judiciary and media.

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