Poland hails first Polish Man International Booker winner

Poland hails its first Man Booker International winner

WARSAW, Poland (AP) – Poland‘s deputy culture minister said Wednesday he is happy that author Olga Tokarczuk is the first Pole to win the prestigious Man Booker International Prize for fiction.

Tokarczuk‘s liberal views and perspectives on Polish history – especially on the Holocaust, including her criticism of Polish anti-Semitism – have clashed with those of the ruling conservative party. She has received death threats in the past. Still, the 56-year-old author counts among Poland‘s top writers.

Deputy Culture Minister Jaroslaw Sellin said he‘s happy over “every success” of Polish artists. He stressed the award has even greater weight after this year‘s Nobel Prize for literature was cancelled.

Tokarczuk won the prize Tuesday with her novel “Flights” that charts multiple journeys in time, space and human anatomy. Its Polish original “Bieguni” was published in 2007 and was translated last year by Jennifer Croft, who shares the prize.

The prize is a counterpart to the Man Booker Prize for English-language novels and is open to books in any language that have been translated into English. The 50,000-pound ($67,000) award is split evenly between the writer and her translator.

Literary critics in Poland said the prize opens the doors for Tokarczuk‘s works into the vast English-language literary world, and that some of her other novels are being translated into English.

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