Great • Alfred • Nobel • Gives • Aspiration!
Nobel & Laureates' Ideas & Thought Processes!
Know Thyself Video

Alfred Nobel Video

Nonprofit Organization

Olga Tokarczuk

Olga Tokarczuk

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2018

Polish novelist, essayist, poetess, screenwriter, advocate for civil liberties and animal rights, clinical psychologist.

"A novel should tell a story, be a pleasure to read and at the same time it should be thought-provoking, even a bit instructive."


Olga Tokarczuk

Bio by Lalitha M. Kutty, M.S. [Library & Information Science], M.A. [English Literature]

Olga Nawoja Tokarczuk, an activist and one of the most critically acclaimed and successful authors of her generation in Poland, was awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature "for a narrative imagination that with encyclopedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries as a form of life." She received the award in 2019. In 2018 the literature prize was not awarded because of a scandal regarding the husband of a Literature Nobel Committee member. Ms. Tokarczuk’s writings include novels, collections of stories, essays and film scripts. Ms. Tokarczuk made her debut as a fiction writer in 1993 with Podróz ludzi Ksiegi (The Journey of the Book-People), a parable set in 17th-century France and Spain, for which she received the award for best debut of a novel in Poland. Her real breakthrough came in 1996, with her third novel Prawiek i inne czasy (Primeval and Other Times) which established Ms. Tokarczuk as an "imaginative author and crucial Polish voice" according to Britannica. For her novel Bieguni (Flights), Ms. Tokarczuk has been awarded the 2018 Man Booker International Prize (translated by Jennifer Croft). In addition to her literary works, in 2017, Ms. Tokarczuk co-wrote the script for the feature film Pokot (Spoor) which was based on Drive Your Plow over the Bones of the Dead. It went on to take Berlin's prestigious Silver Bear award at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival.

Ms. Tokarczuk has won many awards including the Polish Association of Literary Publishers' Award, the Kościelski Foundation Award and the Kulturhuset Stadsteatern International Literary Prize. Ms. Tokarczuk received Poland's prestigious Nike Prize in 2008 for Bieguni and again in 2015 for her historical novel Księgi Jakubowe.(The Books of Jacob) which was considered her masterpiece. Ms. Tokarczuk won the Nike Readers Award totally five times. In 2019, The Books of Jacob, translated by Maryla Laurent, received the Prix Laure Bataillon Award for best foreign language novel translated into French. In 2002 Ms. Tokarczuk and her German translator Esther Kinsky received the Brücke-Berlin prize for literature in translation for the 1998 novel titled Dom dzienny, dom nocny (House of Day, House of Night). This title was also shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Ms. Tokarczuk’s short story The Ugliest Woman in the World was included in the Best European Fiction 2011 anthology, an annual anthology of stories from across Europe. Ms. Tokarczuk is also recipient of the prestigious Usedomer Literaturpreis 2012 for her literary output. The jury of the award honored her especially for the literary and intellectual restitution of Lower Silesia in the European historical experience and in the Polish language. Her Prowadz Swoj PlugPrzez Kosci Umarlych (Drive your Plow over the Bones of the Dead) was published in 2009 and shortlisted for the 2019 Man Booker International Award, longlisted for the National Book Awards in Translated Literature and shortlisted for the 2022 Dublin Literary Award.

Ms. Tokarczuk published Dom dzienny, dom nocny (House of Day, House of Night), the first of what she called her "constellations novels," which are fragmented narratives. Her works from the 2000s included Gra na wielu bębenkach (Beating on Many Drums), a book of short stories; Bieguni, a collection of vignettes of people in transit; and Prowadź swój pług przez kości umarłych (Drive Your Plow over the Bones of the Dead), an environmentalist murder mystery. Ms. Tokarczuk's more recent works include Zagubiona dusza (The Lost Soul), a children's book; Opowiadania bizarne (Tales of the Bizarre), a book of short stories; and Czuły narrator (The Tender Narrator), a collection of essays and lectures.

Ms. Tokarczuk was born on January 29, 1962 in Sulechów, Poland and currently lives in Wroctaw. Ms. Tokarczuk's parents, Wanda Słabowska and Józef Tokarczuk, were teachers and her father also worked as a school librarian. Ms. Tokarczuk studied psychology at the University of Warsaw, where she became interested in the writings of Carl Jung. After graduating in 1985, Ms. Tokarczuk practiced as a clinical psychologist but left after becoming disillusioned by the work. Ms. Tokarczuk married fellow psychologist, Roman Fingas whom she later divorced. Ms. Tokarczuk is married to Grzegorz Zygadło. Ms. Tokarczuk used part of her winnings from the Nobel Prize to fund a foundation based in Wrocław, Poland, to support the work of writers and translators, promote Polish culture, fight discrimination, and advocate for civil liberties and animal rights. She is a vegetarian. Ms. Tokarczuk’s novels, short stories, poetry, and non-fiction works include:

  • Miasto w lustrach (The City in Mirrors) - 1989
  • Podróżludzi Księgi (Journey of the People of the Book) - 1993
  • E.E. - 1995
  • Prawiek i inne czasy (Primeval and Other Times) – 1996
  • Szafa (The Wardrobe) - 1997
  • Dom dzienny, dom nocny (House of Day, House of Night) - 1998
  • Opowiadania bizarne (Bizarre Stories) – 2000
  • Opowieści wigilijne (Christmas Tales) – 2000
  • Lalka i perła (The Doll and the Pearl) - 2000
  • Gra na wielu bębenkach: 19 opowiadań (Playing on Many Drums: 19 stories) - 2001
  • Ostatnie historie (Final Stories) - 2004
  • Anna In w grobowcach ś wiata (Anna In in the Tombs of the World) - 2006
  • Bieguni (Flights) - 2007
  • Prowadź swój pług przez kości umarłych (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead) - 2009
  • Moment niedźwiedzia (The Moment of the Bear) 2012
  • Ksiegi Jakubowe (The Books of Jacob) – 2014
  • Zgubiona Dusza (The Lost Soul) - 2017
  • Czu#322;y Narrator (The Tender Narrator) - 2020
  • Empuzjon - 2022

Discover Your Abilities and Aspirations!

$10 $25 $50 $100 Other
Tax Exempt 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization
Any Currency

“One comes to be of just such stuff as that on which the mind is set” - Maithri Upanishath, VI.34:3

“…the peace that is found in libraries and laboratories…” - Louis Pasteur
Contact Us E-Mail: info@GangaLib.org
Ganga library non-profit 501(c)(3) org. Contributions tax deductible. IRS Tax ID 46-2892728

Copyright © 2023 Ganga Library Inc.   All Rights reserved.;
Photo: Harald Krichel, Wikipedia

Name: Olga Nawoja Tokarczuk
Birth: 29 January 1962, Sulech ów, Poland
Residence at the time of the award: Wroclaw, Poland
Prize Motivation: “for a narrative imagination that with encyclopedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries as a form of life”
Language: Polish
Portion of Cash: 1/1