An Austrian playwright notorious for alleged genocide denial and defending & # 39; Butcher of the Balkans & # 39; Slobodan Milosevic received the Nobel Prize for literature on Thursday.
In a shock movement, the Swedish Academy – forced to postpone last year's ceremony after a sex scandal culminating in the husband of an academic raped for rape – struck favorites such as Handmaid & Tale writer Margaret Atwood and Haruki Murakami, known from novels as 1Q84.
Instead, they gave the nine million Swedish krona (approx. £ 747,000) prize money to Peter Handke, a 76-year-old little known in the English-speaking world, who was embarrassed for speaking at Milosevic's funeral in Belgrade after the dictator died during his war crimes trial in The Hague.
News of his victory caused indignation in Bosnia with Emir Suljagic, a survivor of the massacres of more than 8,000 Muslim men from Srebrenica by Serbs, wrote about the decision on Twitter.
& # 39; A Milosevic fan and notorious genocide denier receives Nobel Prize in literature … What a time to live, & # 39; he said.
The Austrian writer Peter Handke poses in Chaville, in the surburbs of Paris, on October 10, 2019 after being awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize in Literature
Sadik Selimovic, a survivor of the Srebrenica massacre in July 1995, prays through the grave of his relatives in a memorial center in Potocari. Bosnians upset with the news of his prize, said that a Milosevic fan and notorious genocide denier gets Nobel Prize in literature … What a time to live. & # 39; Handke denied notoriously that the events in Srebrenica were genocide, although 8,000 men and boys were slaughtered
The Austrian author Peter Handke addresses the media after announcing that he won the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chaville, near Paris, France on October 10. Favorites, such as the Handmaid & # 39; s Tale writer Margaret Atwood and Haruki Murakami, were rejected
Handke denied that genocide in Srebrenica during the Bosnian war – something that was ruled by the war crimes court in various convictions of wartime top commanders and political leaders.
Handke also claimed that the Muslims had committed their own massacres in the besieged Bosnian capital, Sarajevo, and compared Serbia's fate to that of Jews during the Holocaust – although he later apologized for a & # 39; slip of the tongue & # 39 ;
Slobodan Milosevic is preparing for the 1998 vote in Belgrade. The UN was unable to & # 39; the butcher of the Balkans & # 39; to try for the conflict that tore apart Yugoslavia in the 1990s because he died pending his trial in The Hague in 2006
Opponents have given him & # 39; an ideological monster & # 39; mentioned. Salman Rushdie once crowned him & # 39; International idiot of the year & # 39; and a & # 39; apologist for (a) genocidal regime & # 39 ;.
His victory surprised observers, who had expected the Academy to recognize the # metoo movement and their own shortcomings in recent years through a & # 39; safe & # 39; making a choice, by broadening its perspective from that of a narrow group of self-considering intellectuals.
Handke, whose works include The Goalie & Anxiety at the Penalty Kick and Slow Homecoming, also urged the Nobel to be abolished in 2014, and said it was a & # 39; false canonization & # 39; of literature was – a statement that his critics now certainly agree with.
This is not the first time that his political reputation has caused a headache for the literati.
When he received the International Ibsen Award in 2014, the PEN writers' association called for the dismissal of the jury. An academic mentioned it as & # 39; giving the Immanuel Kant prize to Goebbels & # 39 ;.
People carry coffins during the massive funeral for newly identified 86 victims of the Prijedor massacre at Vedro Polje Stadium in Prijedor, Bosnia and Herzegovina on July 20, 2019
Excavating the Dead: International War Crimes Tribunal investigators are cleaning up the soil and debris of dozens of Srebrenica victims buried in a mass grave near Pilica village
Photos that shocked the world: prisoners were kept in horrific circumstances, while many Bosnian men were massacred without mercy
An official biography of the Nobel Prize only acknowledged: & Although he sometimes caused controversy, he cannot be considered a committed writer in the sense of Sartre and does not give us political programs & # 39; s. ;
A former lover, Marie Colbin, has also accused Handke of violence. In a letter in a 1999 Salon article, she wrote: & # 39; I still hear my head beating on the stone floor … and also the fist in my face. & # 39;
The 2018 prize – delayed due to the sex scandal that endangered the future of the prize – went to a much more respected writer, Polish author Olga Tokarczuk.
Tokarczuk trained as a psychologist before she published her first novel in 1993. Since then she has produced a steady and varied flow of works and her novel & # 39; Flight & # 39; won her the controversial Man Booker International Prize last year. She was the first Polish author to do this.
Academy member Anders Olsson said that both Handke and Tokarczuk had accepted their prizes. & # 39; I only talked to Peter Handke. He was very, very moved. Initially he did not speak words & # 39 ;, said Olsson. He added self-consciously: & # 39; It is not a political prize, it is a literary prize. & # 39;
A view of the Srebrenica Potocari monument, after the burial of recently identified remains of 33 victims of the Srebrenica genocide on the 24th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide on 11 July 2019
Author Olga Tokarczuk shares the prize with Peter Handke. Tokarczuk trained as a psychologist before she published her first novel in 1993. Since then she has produced a steady and varied flow of works and her novel & # 39; Flight & # 39; won her the controversial Man Booker International Prize last year. She was the first Polish author to do this
The literature prize was canceled last year after a mass exodus at the Swedish Academy after allegations of sexual abuse. Jean-Claude Arnault, the husband of a former Academy member, Katarina Frostenso (pictured in the photo), was convicted last year for two rapes in 2011. Arnault is said to have leaked the name of the Nobel Prize winners seven times
Tokarczuk, 57, won for & # 39; a narrative imagination that with encyclopedic passion represents crossing boundaries as a form of life & # 39 ;, said a statement.
Handke was recognized for an oeuvre that includes novels and drama & # 39; that has explored the periphery and specificity of human experience with linguistic ingenuity & # 39 ;.
Previous winners include Remains Of The Day author Kazuo Ishiguro, Doris Lessing and Bob Dylan.
The literature prize was canceled last year after a mass exodus at the Swedish Academy after allegations of sexual abuse.
Jean-Claude Arnault, the husband of a former Academy member, was convicted for two rapes last year in 2011. Arnault is also said to have leaked the name of the Nobel Prize winners seven times.
The French photographer Jean-Claude Arnault, the husband of a former member of the Swedish Academy Katarina Frostenson, attends the Kings Nobel dinner at the Royal Palace in Stockholm, Sweden, December 11, 2011
In March, the foundation behind the literature award said that the Academy had renewed itself and restored confidence.
The Nobel Foundation had warned that another group could be chosen to award the prize if the Academy did not improve its degraded image.
Since then, the organization has appointed new members and apparently reformed some of the more mysterious rules after a rare intervention by the royal patron, the king of Sweden.
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