Olga Tokarczuk's Flights wins the Man Booker International Prize


Her novel is a combination of tales of modern day travel with the story of a 17 century anatomist who performed dissection on his amputated leg.

A bestselling author in Poland, the 56-year-old Tokarczuk is a recipient of numerous awards in her home country.

The £50,000 prize, which celebrates the finest works of translated fiction from around the world, has been divided equally between its author and translator.

Emphasising on the significance of the Man Booker International Prize, Appignanesi said that the judges really felt that "this is a prize that has an interventionist quality - it allows writers to be better known in Britain, and in the English language, than they have been previously". In a television interview, Tokarczuk outraged rightwing patriots by saying that, contrary to its self-image as a plucky survivor of oppression, Poland itself had committed "horrendous acts" of colonisation at times in its history. "[It] moves from wit and gleeful mischief to real emotional texture".

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"Tokarczuk is a writer of wonderful wit, imagination and literary panache", writer Lisa Appignanesi, who led the judging panel, said in a statement. "These journeys and fragments, in Jennifer Croft's deft translation, accumulate into an enchanting meditation on metamorphosis and connection".

Torakczuk and Croft beat Ahmed Saadawi's novel "Frankenstein in Baghdad", a horror story set in Iraq shortly after the 2003 US-invasion, and books by South Korea's Han Kang, Hungary's Laszlo Krasznahorkai, France's Virginie Despentes and Spain's Antonio Munoz Molina. Her other work "Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead" was denounced by a Polish news agency as "a deeply anti-Christian [work] that promoted eco-terrorism". "I was very naive".

For more information about the prize, see the Man Booker website. Chinua Achebe and David Grossman are among the authors to have won the award earlier. Tokarczuk and Croft were presented the award at a ceremony in Victoria and Albert Museum in London on Tuesday night.