Posted on December 9, 2019 at 10:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

The 2018 and 2019 Nobel literature laureates gave their inaugural lectures over the weekend.

Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk, who received the delayed medal, spoke first, with a focus on how power can be wielded through storytelling.

Tokarczuk, author of Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead and Flights, also referenced the challenges that literature and history face in the Internet age.

Austrian writer Peter Handke mostly avoided reference to the controversy surrounding his win during his lecture, instead quoting his poetry and evoking Slovenian-Slavic religious imagery.

The criticism of his win — largely based on his past support for convicted war criminal Slobodan Milošević and his denial of the atrocities committed by the Serbian leader — hasn’t stopped, however; in fact, it's picked up steam.

Protesters plan to deliver a 60,000-signature petition opposing Handke's win on Tuesday, the same day as the award ceremony — which Kosovo’s government will boycott.

Kosovo, a former Serbian province, saw significant violence during Milošević’s time in power.

Read more from the laureates’ lectures (or watch them below) and refresh your memory on who’s opposing Handke’s win in the Guardian.

Read the transcript of Olga Tokarczuk's lecture in English, Swedish, and Polish

Read the transcript of Peter Handke's lecture in German, English, and Swedish

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Categories: Today in Books

Tagged As: Awards, Scandal, The Guardian

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