Olga Tokarczuk Portrait
© Hartwig Klappert

Guest 2001, 2010.

Bibliography

Ur und andere Zeiten

Berlin Verlag

Berlin, 2000

[Ü: Esther Kinsky]

 

Taghaus, Nachthaus

Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt

Stuttgart/München, 2001

[Ü: Esther Kinsky]

 

Letzte Geschichten

Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt

München, 2006

[Ü: Esther Kinsky]

 

Anna In in den Katakomben. Der Mythos der Mondgöttin Inanna

Berlin Verlag

Berlin, 2007

[Ü: Esther Kinsky]

 

Unrast

Schöffling

Frankfurt/Main, 2009

[Ü: Esther Kinsky]

 

Der Gesang der Fledermäuse

Schöffling

Frankfurt/Main, 2011

[Ü: Doreen Daume]

 

Die Jakobsbücher

Kampa

Zürich, 2019

[Ü: Lisa Palmes und Lothar Quinkenstein]

Olga Tokarczuk [ Poland ]

Olga Tokarczuk was born in 1962 in Sulechów near Zielona Góra in Poland. She studied clinical psychology at University of Warsaw. After graduating she worked as a therapist at first.

Her first novel »Podróż ludzi Księgi« (tr: The Journey of the Book-People) was published in 1993, and it was hailed by the Society of Polish Publishers as the best prose début for 1992 and 1993. Tokarczuk’s third novel, »Prawiek i inne czasy« (1996, Eng. »Primeval and Other Times«, 2009), tells the story of a small, fictional town in East Poland over eight decades. People's lives are of course determined by the events of the 20th century, but despite being anchored by historical events, there is a sense of timelessness in the poetical space Tokarczuk conjures up. It is about the eternal themes of love and hate, birth and death, spirituality and materialism. Tokarczuk avails herself of Classical as well as Biblical mythology, whereby time and space exclude and ultimately cancel each other out. Mythology is also the focus of her novel »Anna In w grobowcach świata« (2006, tr: Anna In in the Tombs of the World), which deals with the saga of the Sumerian Moon Goddess Inanna. The novel »Dom dzienny, dom nocny« (1999, Eng. »House of Day, House of Night«, 2003) is set in a village in Lower Silesia, Tokarczuk’s chosen home. Formally, it is a text which is composed of fragments: essay-like observations on the past and present of the region, its legends and the lives of the locals. Tokarczuk’s most recent novel, »Bieguni« (2008, tr: Runners) is concerned with the nomadic lifestyles of modern people, and it varies in form between travel literature, mythological stories and philosophical observations. Her animal welfare novel »Prowadź swój pług przez kości umarłych« (2009; Eng. »Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead«, 2018), filmed by Agnieszka Holland, tells the story of an aging mining engineer who indulges her love for animals, astrology, and William Blake in the seclusion of the southern Polish mountains. Tokarczuk’s historical novel »Księgi Jakubowe« (2014; tr: The Books of Jacob) is dedicated to the life of Jakob Joseph Frank, who as one of the most influential figures in Jewish life in the 18th century wanted to introduce his people in Eastern Europe to modernity. In a combination of historical and magical realism, Tokarczuk describes the fate of the Polish-Lithuanian aristocratic republic before it was divided amongst Russia, Austria, and Prussia. The work triggered a controversy in Tokarczuk’s homeland: »It has filled a certain void, a deficit in historiography in Poland. There has never been such a book before – a book that offers an alternative to a romantic view of history.«

Since 1998, Olga Tokarczuk has lived in the village of Krajanów near Nowa Ruda and in Wroclaw, where she also ran her publishing house Ruta for several years before turning to writing full-time. In addition to many other honors, she was awarded the Brücke Berlin Literatur- und Übersetzerpreis in 2002, the Man Booker International Prize in 2018, and the Noble Prize for Literature in 2019 (retroactively for the year 2018). The committee justified its decision by pointing to Tokarczuk’s »narrative imagination that with encyclopedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries«.