Peter Handke, Writer on Wim Wenders' 'Wings of Desire,' Wins Nobel Prize for Literature

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Peter Handke

Olga Tokarczuk, whose novel 'Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead' was the basis for Agnieszka Holland's Berlin festival Silver Bear-winning 'Spoor,' won for 2018 when no honor was awarded amid a scandal.

Austrian novelist and playwright Peter Handke, one of the writers on Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire, has won this year's Nobel Prize for literature, organizers of the award said Thursday.

The Swedish Academy cited his "influential work that with linguistic ingenuity has explored the periphery and the specificity of human experience."

It also unveiled that Polish author Olga Tokarczuk has won the 2018 award. Her novel Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead was adapted into crime film Spoor, directed by Agnieszka Holland, which won a Silver Bear award at the 2017 Berlin International Film Festival.

The literature honor is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, in 1895. The others are prizes in chemistry, physics, medicine and the Nobel Peace Prize. Since 1901, the literature prize has been awarded to an author from any country who has, according to Nobel's will, written "the most outstanding work in an ideal direction."

The fact that there are two honorees this year is due to the fact that the Nobel Prize in literature was not awarded last year, the first time since wartime 1943 that the prestigious honor was not handed out, following sex-abuse allegations and other issues within the ranks of the Swedish Academy.

"We find it necessary to commit time to recovering public confidence in the Academy before the next laureate can be announced," the Academy said last year.

An internal feud at the Academy was triggered by an abuse scandal linked to Jean-Claude Arnault, a major cultural figure in Sweden. The organization later admitted that "unacceptable behavior in the form of unwanted intimacy" took place within its ranks, but its handling of unseemly allegations has hurt the body's credibility, called into question its judgment and forced its first female leader to resign.

Past laureates include U.S. writers Toni Morrison and Saul Bellow, Britain's Harold Pinter and William Golding, Ireland's Samuel Beckett, Canada's Alice Munro, South Africa's Nadine Gordimer and J.M. Coetzee, Colombia's Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Chile's Pablo Neruda, France's Jean-Paul Sartre, Germany's Gunter Grass, Turkey's Orhan Pamuk and China's Mo Yan. Last year, Bob Dylan won the award, becoming the first American to receive it since Morrison won it in 1993.