This seems a curious assertion in light of the successive awards for 2018 and 2019 to Olga Tokarczuk (from Poland) and Peter Handke (from Austria). Whatever the merits of these writers – and Handke is certainly a controversial choice – or the congratulations due, the decision fails to demonstrate the widened perspective that Olsson promised. Taking him at his word, it invites questions about how diligent their search can have been, how knowledgeable the jury, and indeed how global a literary prize the Nobel can claim to be.
How terrible, eh?
But, you know, The Guardian. Both sides of the mouth, always:
Afterwards she is whisked away for photos, handshakes, congratulations, the heady stuff of success. Only the following day does she discover what else happened that night. Following her speech, the head of the organisation returned to the stage and made an off-the-cuff comment about this award really ticking “all the boxes”. It was nothing really, just a lighthearted joke, more at the expense of funders and their infuriating rules than the writer who happens to be Indian, English, bisexual, a woman, the daughter of first-generation immigrants.
Damned if you do box tick and damned if you don’t.