Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk was on Tuesday declared the winner of the Man Booker International Prize 2018 for her book Flights. She is the first Polish author to have won the prestigious award that honours the finest works of translated fiction from around the world.
The book’s translator, Jennifer Croft, will receive half of the £50,000 (approximately Rs 45 lakh) cash prize. Tokarczuk and Croft had also received £1,000 for being shortlisted. The winning book was selected from 108 submissions.
Flights has been described as a “a novel of linked fragments from the 17th century to the present day, connected by themes of travel and human anatomy”.
The chairperson of the five-judge panel, Lisa Appignanesi, called Tokarczuk a writer of wonderful wit, imagination and literary panache. “In Flights, brilliantly translated by Jennifer Croft, by a series of startling juxtapositions she flies us through a galaxy of departures and arrivals, stories and digressions, all the while exploring matters close to the contemporary and human predicament – where only plastic escapes mortality,” Appignanesi said.
Tokarczuk is an award-winning author of eight novels and two short-story collections. She is a trained psychologist and her interest in Jung is a huge influence in her writing. Her first book was a collection of poems that was published in 1989.
Croft translates from Polish, Spanish and Ukrainian, and is a founding editor of the Buenos Aires Review.