• Kjell B. Magnusson
Keywords: Peter Handke, Serbia


There are three kinds of reactions to the Nobel Prize in Literature for 2019: those who condemn Peter Handke and the Academy; those who argue that Handke deserves the prize, but criticise his views on the Balkan wars; and those who unreservedly regard him as a worthy laureate.

According to the critics, not only did Handke side with the Serbs in the 1990s; he actively supported Milošević, visited him in The Hague, and spoke at his funeral. In addition, he questioned what happened in Srebrenica.

Perhaps the criticism says more about our own cultural climate than about the author himself, and we may assume that few have read what Handke has actually written on the matter. Instead, opinions are often based on loose quotes and second- or third-hand information.