Short link. Probably more to follow.
The Swedish Academy handed out two prizes this year, after they were forced to suspend the prize last year amid a metoo scandal which saw most of the Academy’s members either resign voluntarily or be forced to resign. There’s been a lot of speculation about how they were going to restore their reputation this year, and they spent a long portion of the press conference explaining their new process, whereas in past years they haven’t felt compelled to do so.
It was expected that at least one of the two prizes would go to a woman, with Margaret Atwood being one of the odds favorites (the bookmakers’ picks never win, so I don’t know whether we should put much stock in them, but they do reflect pre-award buzz). I’m not too familiar with either author, but it’s interesting that they chose Peter Handke. He’s one of Europe’s most controversial authors for his decades-long support of Serbia and Slobodan Milosevic’s actions during the Yugoslav Wars. He once compared Serbians to the Jews during WW2, visited Milosevic in prison when he was on trial for war crimes, and spoke at the man’s funeral. He’s also hailed as one of the greatest living German-language authors. It’s like the Academy decided to throw feminists a bone by awarding a woman the prize, but then couldn’t resist jumping headlong into controversy again right away.