Tokarczuk wins 2018 Man Booker International Prize

Polish author Olga Tokarczuk wins 2018 Man Booker International Prize for ‘Flights

Man Booker International Prize winner and author of 'Flights' Olga Tokarczuk and translator Jennifer Croft

A novel about travel in the 21st century and human anatomy titled Flights by Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk has been awarded the Man Booker International Prize for 2018.

"Our narrator is a wanderer who is intimately attuned to the rhythms of modern travel, with its airport ennui and fleeting conversations; the white whale of the book is the human body itself, pursued through a series of narratives - some fictional and some, like the weird story of the posthumous journey of Chopin's heart, based on historical events - that circle around the amputation of limbs, the embalming of corpses, and the mysterious border between life and death".

Announced Tuesday at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Man Booker International Prize is handed out by the same organization that awards the Man Booker Prize for fiction, celebrating the finest works of translated fiction from around the world.

"Flights" is Tokarczuk's only third work to be translated into English and she has become the first writer from Poland to be awarded the prize.

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Tokarczuk is the author of eight novels and two short-story collections whilst Croft is an accomplished translator of Polish, Spanish and Ukrainian.

Tokarczuk, 56, was born in Poland. "[It] moves from wit and gleeful mischief to real emotional texture".

In her 2014 novel "The Book of Jacob" she presented the Polish audience with a very different historical reality than the one usually celebrated, that of harmonious Polish-Jewish relations as coined by Polish national poet Adam Mickiewicz. Since 2016, it has rewarded an English-language translation of a single work of worldwide literature. Other finalists included Iraqi writer Ahmed Saadawi's horror story "Frankenstein in Baghdad" and South Korean author Han Kang's meditative novel "The White Book". She was branded a "targowiczanin" - an ancient term for a traitor - and her publisher had to hire bodyguards for a while to protect her, The Guardian reported.

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