Nobel Prize In Literature: Five things you need to know about 2019 winner Peter Handke

Updated: Oct 11, 2019, 13:30 IST | mid-day online correspondent |

Before you go searching for his titles at a bookstore near you, it is best to do some background research

Peter Handke. Pic courtesy/AFP
Peter Handke. Pic courtesy/AFP

After a two-year long wait, the Nobel Committee finally decided to announce two winners (for 2018 and 2019) in Poland's Olga Tokarczuk and Austria's Peter Handke. It's a wonderful time for these two writers because a lot more people are going to be exposed to their books and ideas. But before you go searching for their titles at a bookstore near you, it's best to do some background research. So without further ado, let's look at some things you need to know about 2019 winner Peter Handke.

He dropped out of college after a publisher approved his first novel

After his first novel Die Hornissen (The Hornets) was accepted by German publishing house Suhrkamp Verlag, Handke decided that he had had enough of formal education and dropped out.

His mother had committed suicide in 1971

In November 1971, Handke's mother Maria Handke committed suicide. She wrote a note where she expressed that it was inconceivable for her to go on living. Peter Handke has even written a book about it called 'A Sorrow Beyond Dreams' (1975).

He's even written and directed many films

A quick look at Handke's filmography on IMDb tells us that he had a strong affinity for cinema. He even directed a film called 'The Left-Handed Woman' which was nominated for the Golden Palm award at Cannes film festival, 1978.

He attacked German literature for its 'descriptive impotence' when he was just 24

In 1966, when Handke was just 24, he launched a bitter attack on German writers by pointing out their 'descriptive impotence'. He did so at the Group 47 literary circle meeting at Princeton University.

There's a documentary on him called 'Peter Handke: In the Woods, Might be Late'

If you do end up reading his books, follow it up by watching a documentary on his life by Corinna Belz called 'Peter Handke: In the Woods, Might Be Late'.

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