Nobel or nobbled? Peter Handke's controversial Nobel Prize win

Victoria Osho tells us her thoughts on Peter Handke's controversial Nobel prize win.

Victoria Osho
24th October 2019
The Nobel Prize in literature has been one of the most scrutinised divisions of the Nobel Prize particularly in the way in which people are selected. However, this week the globe received the shock of their lives when Peter Handke, a controversial Austrian writer, received this year's Nobel Prize for literature. 

Firstly, there are many other authors this year who could’ve won that Nobel Prize in my opinion. Margaret Atwood being a good example. However, the prize was awarded, after close consideration, to Peter Handke. Now, here’s why the world (including me) isn’t so happy about that.

"Handke was considered close to former Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic, a man who is now in jail for many crimes against humanity"

Handke was considered close to former Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic, a man who is now in jail for many crimes against humanity. He once denied the Serbian massacre at Srebrenica and compared Serbia's fate to that of Jews during the Holocaust - he later apologised for what he called a "slip of the tongue".

There has been uproar, and many critics have called it a slap in the face and a joke when thinking about the fact that many individuals on the team are involved in the decision-making process when it comes to a prestigious prize such as Nobel. You would think that because of the fact that there is also a Nobel Peace Prize, they would not give a prize to somebody who supports a person doing the exact opposite.

"I think the world is changing in a sense that we can no longer separate the art from the artist"

I think the world is changing in a sense that we can no longer separate the art from the artist. You see many people preaching that ludicrous statement: separate the art from the artist. Well I am here to tell you that it is impossible. Artists, whoever they are, are their work. Therefore, their work and their actions go hand in hand no matter what is said, even if they are not directly parallel. We should not be awarding anybody with horrible actions under their belt if they have not apologised for it, let alone a genocide denier. It’s ridiculous that in this day and age we still see people like this go on to be successful without facing or apologising for their previous actions. We need to start forcing people to take accountability, not hand them a Nobel Prize.

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