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Thursday, October 29, 2020

We really have won the Nobel: Olga Tokarczuk on women winning the honour

The most stirring part of the speech arrived towards the end when she thanked all those who stood by her as well as acknowledge the legacy she now was a part of

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi | October 9, 2020 8:00:40 am
Olga TokarczukOlga Tokarczuk acknowledged the legacy she was now part of. (File)

Last year, there were two recipients for the Nobel Prize for Literature, with the 2018 prize going to Poland’s Olga Tokarczuk and the 2019 award to Austria’s Peter Handke. In the banquet speech, Tokarczuk gave a moving speech on her win as well as women winning the honour.

“Your Royal Highnesses, Your Excellencies, my fellow Laureates, Ladies and Gentlemen. Allow me to offer my most heartfelt thanks to the Swedish Academy and the Nobel Foundation for this incredible honour,” she started by saying and then added an element of mirth by citing the film, The Wife.

Before making the trip to Stockholm, I did my best to find out what this special week and the Nobel prize ceremony would be like. And I came upon the movie, The Wife. My favourite scene in the movie is when the writer and his wife have just received the call from the Nobel Academy, and they jump up and down on their bed like children, shouting: “We’ve won the Nobel!” But further down the line, the mood of the story grows darker, as it gradually transpires that the secret behind the writer’s success is his wife – and that she is the real author of his novel. No, no, please don’t worry – I can solemnly declare that I wrote all my own books myself.”

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However, the most stirring part of the speech arrived towards the end when she thanked all those who stood by her as well as acknowledge the legacy she now was part of.

“Today it is exactly one hundred ten years since the first woman won the Nobel Prize in Literature – Selma Lagerlöf. I bow low to her across time, and to all the other women, all the female creators who boldly exceeded the limiting roles society imposed on them, and had the courage to tell their story to the world loud and clear. I can feel them standing behind me. We really have won the Nobel!”

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