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Tuesday October 22nd, 2019 8:15PM

The Latest: Austrian president congratulates nobel laureate

By The Associated Press
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STOCKHOLM (AP) — The Latest on the awarding of the 2019 Nobel Prizes (all times local):

2:10 p.m.

Austria's president is congratulating Peter Handke on winning the Nobel Prize in literature, praising his "fascinating" works and declaring it a great day for literature.

Alexander Van der Bellen wrote on Twitter that Handke's "quiet and intense voice has for decades designed worlds, places and people who couldn't be more fascinating."

He described Handke's tone as "unfussy and unique," and said that "we have a lot to thank Peter Handke for. I hope he knows that."

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1:45 p.m.

The chair of the Nobel Committee of the Swedish Academy says the 18-member Academy picked four members from own its ranks and five "externals" to select the shortlist for the 2018 and 2019 literature prizes.

The academy has reformed itself after sex abuse allegations that led to a mass exodus of committee members and the ouster of then-Permanent Secretary Sara Danius, resulting in no prize being awarded last year for the first time since 1943 at the height of World War II.

Anders Olsson, the chair, says the list of the candidates, whose names are secret, is boiled down by the group of nine to a shortlist of eight people to be considered by the Academy.

He added that in early October, the Academy chooses the laureates, and that a candidate must receive more than half of the votes cast.

When asked whether the Swedish Academy really makes the decision, Olsson said "We are not ready yet to evaluate the process," and declined to elaborate on the internal line of work.

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1:40 p.m.

The announcement that the 2018 Nobel Prize in literature has been awarded to Polish author Olga Tokarczuk provides a morale boost to liberal-minded Poles only three days before a nationalist populist party taking the country down an illiberal path seems headed for re-election.

Tokarczuk was honored by the Swedish Academy on Thursday for what it said was "a narrative imagination that with encyclopedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries as a form of life."

Tokarczuk has celebrated the ethnic melting pot that Poland was in the past in her works. That has not made her universally admired by the nationalists in power in Poland.

Even Culture Minister Piotr Glinski said in recent days that he has tried to read her works but never managed to finish any of them.

The last Pole to win the Nobel literature prize was poet Wislawa Szymborska in 1996.

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1 p.m.

The 2018 Nobel Prize in literature has been awarded to Polish author Olga Tokarczuk "for a narrative imagination that with encyclopedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries as a form of life," while the 2019 prize went to Austrian author Peter Handke.

Mats Malm, the Swedish Academy's permanent secretary, says Handke was honored "for an influential work that with linguistic ingenuity has explored the periphery and the specificity of human experience."

The shortlist was made of eight names of which two were picked for the 2018 and 2019 awards, said Anders Olsson, chair of the Nobel Committee of the Swedish Academy.

With the glory comes a 9-million kronor ($918,000) cash award to be shared a gold medal and a diploma. The laureates receive them at an elegant ceremony in Stockholm on Dec. 10 the anniversary of Nobel's death in 1896 together with five other Nobel winners. The sixth one, the peace prize, is handed out in Oslo, Norway on the same day.

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8:15 a.m.

Two Nobel Prizes in literature — one for 2019 and one for last year — will be announced Thursday after the 2018 literature award was postponed following sex abuse allegations that had rocked the Swedish Academy.

The chemistry prize went Wednesday to three scientists for their work leading to the development of lithium-ion batteries. That was a day after the physics award was given to a Canadian-American and two Swiss, and on Monday the Physiology or Medicine award went to two Americans and one British scientist.

So far, nine Nobel prizes have been awarded this week and all the laureates are men.

The coveted Nobel Peace Prize is Friday and the economics award on Monday.

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Read more stories on the 2019 Nobel Prizes by The Associated Press at https://www.apnews.com/NobelPrizes

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