Polish author wins Man Booker International Prize

Lynette PayneMay 25, 2018

Flights is set in the 17th to 21st centuries, combining stories of modern-day travel alongside tales of a Dutch anatomist from the 17th century and the tale of Frederic Chopin's sister transporting his heart after the composer died.

Appignanesi said: " Tokarczuk is a writer of wonderful wit, imagination and literary panache.

A counterpart to the prestigious Man Booker Prize, the £50,000 award goes to the best work of translated fiction from around the world and is split equally between the writer and the translator. Still, the 56-year-old author counts among Poland's top writers. Since 2016, it has rewarded an English-language translation of a single work of worldwide literature. She has authored eight novels and two short-story collections.

She also praised the novel's translation by Croft, an American who translates from Polish, Spanish and Ukrainian.

In a television interview at the time, she said Poland liked to think of itself as an "open, tolerant country", but would not acknowledge its poor historical treatment of Jews and other minority groups.

Torakczuk and Croft beat Ahmed Saadawi's novel "Frankenstein in Baghdad", a horror story set in Iraq shortly after the 2003 US-invasion, and books by South Korea's Han Kang, Hungary's Laszlo Krasznahorkai, France's Virginie Despentes and Spain's Antonio Munoz Molina. A film adaptation of Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead - titled Pokot (Spoor) - was denounced by a Polish news agency as "a deeply anti-Christian [work] that promoted eco-terrorism".

Tokarczuk and Croft were presented with their awards on Tuesday night at a ceremony in London's Victoria and Albert Museum.

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