Lewandowski Named UEFA Men’s Player Of The Year

 

Robert Lewandowski was named UEFA Men’s Player of the Year on Thursday following a superb season in which he won the treble with Bayern Munich.

Lewandowski was at UEFA headquarters in Nyon in Switzerland to receive the award at the draw for the Champions League group stage, just weeks after Bayern won the 2019/20 edition of the competition.

The Poland striker scored 55 goals in 47 games as Bayern also won the Bundesliga and German Cup. He was the top scorer in the Champions League with 15 goals.

Kosovo Declares Nobel Laureate Handke ‘Persona Non Grata’

Austrian author and laureate of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Literature Peter Handke gives a speech during a royal banquet to honour the laureates of the Nobel Prize 2019 following the Award ceremony on December 10, 2019, in Stockholm, Sweden. Anders WIKLUND / TT News Agency / AFP

 

Kosovo declared Peter Handke a ‘persona non grata’ on Wednesday in the latest protest against his induction as a Nobel literature laureate, barring the Austrian writer from a place he has visited numerous times.

The Swedish Academy’s pick for the 2019 prize has reopened old wounds in the Balkans, where many see Handke as an apologist for Serb atrocities during Yugoslavia’s bloody collapse.

One Nobel committee member resigned over the choice, while Tuesday’s award ceremony was boycotted by representatives of the embassies of Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Turkey.

“Today I have decided to declare Peter Handke as not welcome in Kosovo. He is a non-grata person… Denying crimes and supporting criminals is a terrible crime,” Kosovo’s Foreign Minister Behgjet Pacolli wrote on Facebook.

The writer is not popular among Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian-majority, who fought Belgrade for independence in a 1998-99 war that claimed 13,000 lives.

But he was a frequent guest in the tiny Serb enclave of Velika Hoca, one of several small ethnic Serb communities scattered around the former Serbian province.

Handke has visited Velika Hoca at least five times and donated nearly 100,000 euros ($110,000) to the community of 500 people, whose village is nestled among the rolling hills of southern Kosovo.

“Even if there are big problems, I think life has a good rhythm here”, the writer said during a 2014 visit.

“I can be alone here. I can hide. I can walk very hidden behind the hills,” he added.

Barred from Sarajevo

Handke’s elevation to Nobel laureate has also been painful for many Bosnian Muslims, as he is accused of questioning the genocide in Srebrenica, where Bosnian Serbs slaughtered 8,000 Muslim men and boys in 1995.

On Wednesday he was formally barred from Bosnia’s capital Sarajevo, where the regional government said his appearance would “provoke the anger and humiliation” of war victims.

Yet he is still welcome to visit the Serb-run zone that spans nearly half of Bosnia’s territory — a legacy of the war that left the country carved up along ethnic lines.

On Tuesday Handke told RTRS, the public broadcaster in Bosnia’s Serb-run region that he would like to visit “in the spring”.

Handke has defended his work and denied any allegiance to the late Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic.

Critics say Handke made his loyalties clear by speaking at the funeral of Milosevic, who died in 2006 while on trial in The Hague for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Handke’s 1997 book “A Journey to the Rivers: Justice for Serbia” was also accused of minimising Serb war crimes.

But among Serb fans, Handke is still celebrated for taking note of their suffering during the conflicts and challenging the narrative that Serbs were the sole aggressors in the wars.

In Belgrade, one politician suggested creating a human rights prize in Handke’s name on Wednesday.

Handke was one of “very few who searched for the truth during the 1990s,” said MP Mirjana Dragas, describing the author as a “brave, but above all great, novelist”.

Five Things To Know About The Nobel Literature Prize

 

The Swedish Academy will on Thursday crown two Nobel literature laureates after postponing the 2018 prize for a year to deal with the fallout of a sexual harassment scandal that rocked the venerable institution.

Here are five things to know about the Nobel Literature Prize.

Prestigious award

Each year, the Swedish Academy awards 16 prizes, the most famous and prestigious being the Nobel Literature Prize. The other Nobels — including the coveted Peace Prize — are awarded by other institutions.

In his 1895 last will and testament, Swedish scientist and philanthropist Alfred Nobel tasked the institution with awarding the Nobel Literature Prize each year.

Since 1901, four or five of the Academy’s 18 members have been elected to serve on its Nobel Committee for a three-year term, designated to sort through the nominations and provide the rest of the Academy with a shortlist of possible winners.

The nominees’ bodies of work are then studied and discussed by the entire Academy. The members hold a vote in October to choose the winner — the laureate must obtain more than half of the votes cast.

Following last year’s scandal, the Nobel Foundation that funds the Nobel Prizes insisted that five external people also join the Nobel Committee for at least 2019 and 2020.

350 nominees a year

The Academy’s archives are bursting with letters from the world’s most renowned literary figures nominating candidates.

Each year, the institution receives around 350 nominations submitted by those eligible to do so: former Nobel literature laureates, members of other countries’ equivalent academies, literature professors, and the heads of national writers’ associations.

Each one vaunts the talents of their candidate, some going so far as to slip in a little gift for Academy members — a gesture they typically frown upon.

To be valid, nominations must be presented or renewed each year and must be received by the Academy by January 31 at the latest.

To qualify, nominees must still be alive, and, according to the strict rules laid out by Alfred Nobel, must have published a piece of work within the past year, though the Academy has occasionally strayed from that requirement.

Reserved and refused awards

A total of 114 people have won the Nobel Literature Prize. It has been awarded on 110 occasions, with two people sharing the prize on four occasions.

It has also been declined twice: In 1958 Russian author Boris Pasternak accepted the prize but was later forced by Soviet authorities to decline it, and in 1964, French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre turned it down.

The institution, founded in 1786, chose to reserve the prize eight times: in 1915, 1919, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1936, 1949 and 2018.

On six of those occasions, the prize was delayed then awarded at the same time as the following year’s prize, as will be the case on Thursday.

France tops list

France takes the gold medal for the most Nobel Literature Prizes with 15 laureates, including the first one ever awarded, to Sully Prudhomme in 1901.

Tied in second place are the United States and Britain with 12 laureates each, including last year’s winner, Japanese-born British writer Kazuo Ishiguro, author of “Remains of the Day” and “Never Let Me Go”.

In terms of languages, however, laureates writing in Moliere’s tongue find themselves outnumbered by those writing in Shakespeare’s, with 29 Anglophone authors honoured since 1901.

Scandals

The Academy has been rocked by several affairs in modern times.

In the name of the “independence of literature”, the Swedish Academy refused to condemn a 1989 fatwa against British author Salman Rushdie following the publication of his novel, “The Satanic Verses”.

Academy members were divided about whether to stand as neutral guarantors of the arts or as supporters of their fellow author.

Three members angered by the Academy’s chosen path of silence left their seats, though technically they were appointed for life and could not resign.

It was not until 27 years later, in 2016, that the Academy finally condemned the fatwa against Rushdie.

Then, in late 2017 and early 2018, it disagreed publicly about how to manage its close ties to Frenchman Jean-Claude Arnault, accused and later convicted of rape.

Arnault is married to Katarina Frostenson, a member of the Academy who later resigned over the scandal.

The rift exposed scheming, conflicts of interest, harassment and a culture of silence among members, leaving the Academy in disarray and forcing it to postpone the 2018 prize.

The Academy’s statutes have since been revised to increase transparency and allow members to resign.

Seven members quit the Academy in 2018 and have since been replaced.