Austrian author Peter Handke has received the 2019 Nobel prize for Literature on 10 December in Stockholm, Sweden.
The choice sparked controversy as he was criticized for backing late Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic, who was accused of genocide. During the ceremony, protesters outside carried signs saying “No Nobel for Fake News”.
The ambassadors of Bosnia, Albania, Kosovo and Turkey boycotted the ceremony. Kosovo’s foreign minister said that “a writer who supported Milosevic and his genocide in Bosnia and Kosovo does not deserve the Nobel Prize.” He also told the ambassador in Sweden to “boycott” the ceremony.
In a 1996 book, Handke accused Bosnian Muslims of staging attacks in the Bosnia Serb massacre. He also spoke at the funeral of Milosevic.
“Not one word I have written about Yugoslavia can be denounced, not a single one. It’s literature,” he said in defense of his books.
In 2014, he said the Nobel Literature Prize conferred a “false canonisation” on the laureate, and demanded for it to be abolished.