Every year the prestigious Man Booker International Prize is awarded to an author with outstanding contribution in a literary work. This year, Olga Tokarczuk, a 56-year-old bestselling author from Poland, has won this prize for her novel Flights, which is based on travels in the modern times and human anatomy.
The Man Booker Prize received a total of 108 entries this year, which were submitted for the award. However, the top three final contestants were Poland’s Olga Tokarczuk, South Korea’s Han Kang and Hungary’s Laszlo Krasznahorkai. Besides these, the authors who were shortlisted for the prize included Spanish author Antonio Munoz Molina, Iraq’s Ahmed Saadawi and France’s Virginie Despentes. However, this year’s Man Booker Prize was awarded to Polish author Olga Tokarczuk at a ceremony in Victoria and Albert Museum in London on late Tuesday night.
An amount of 50,000 British Pounds was awarded to the winner of this prestigious prize to the best work of translated fiction from across the world and is divided equally among the writer and the translator. Jennifer Croft, the translator of Flights too received the prize for the book that was published by Fitzcarraldo Editions, a tiny independent press. Olga, who hails from Poland and is a trained psychologist at the University of Warsaw and until now has authored eight novels and two short-story collections. Notably, Flights is Tokarczuk’s third work which has been translated into English and she happens to be the first writer from Poland to be awarded the prize. It is remarkable that Tokarczuk, a well-known author in Poland, has already received numerous awards in her home country.
Lisa Appignanesi, a noted British writer, novelist, and campaigner for free expression commented that Tokarczuk is “a writer of wonderful wit, imagination and literary panache” who “has written a great many books that sound amazing, but which haven’t been translated yet.” Appignanesi also appreciated the novel’s translation by Croft, who translates from Polish, Spanish and Ukrainian and holds an MFA in Literary Translation from the University of Iowa. The jury at the Man Booker Prize loved the voice of the narrative as it moves from wit and gleeful mischief to real emotional texture and has the ability to create character very quickly, with interesting digression and speculation.