Olga Tokarczuk won Britain’s Man Booker International Prize on Tuesday. Tokarczuk is respected as the most gifted Polish novelist of her generation. She has many bestsellers to her name — including a debatable book about an obscure Jewish messianic sect — and a style that mixes the real with the mystical.
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.
“I don’t have a clear biography of my own that I could recount in an interesting way. I’m made up of the characters that I pulled out of my head, that I invented,” Tokarczuk said in an interview with The Polish Book Institute.
“I’m made up of all of them. I have a huge, multi-frame biography.” “I am really lucky that a book I wrote more than 10 years ago is given a new lease on life in a different culture and different language zone and is still seen as relating to the current times,” Tokarczuk said on Poland’s TVN24.
“Polish literature can be interesting to the world. I’m happy to be the trailblazer,” she said.
Tokarczuk’s novel was primary printed 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 dialectal novels and is open to books in any language that have been translated into English. The 50,000-pound ($67,000) award is split equally between the novelist and her translator.