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Selecting Flights from a shortlist that also featured the Spanish author Antonio Muñoz Molina, Iraq's Ahmed Saadawi and France's Virginie Despentes was "so hard", said Appignanesi, but Tokarczuk is "a writer of wonderful wit, imagination and literary panache" who has "has written a great many books that sound awesome, but which haven't been translated yet".

For more information about the prize, see the Man Booker website. 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.

The amount of £50,000 (USD 67,000) from the award is divided between the writer and her translator Jennifer Croft.

A well-known author in Poland, Tokarczuk is a recipient of numerous awards in her home country. The "Books of Jacob" published in 2014 earned her another Nike Award. So far, she has written eight novels and two collections of short stories.

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Tokarczuk's statement drew ire from nationalist critics and she received death threats.

The book had echoes of writers W.G. Sebald and Milan Kundera, she added, but Tokarczuk "inhabits a rebellious, playful register very much her own".

The other finalists included Iraqi writer Ahmed Saadawi's horror story Frankenstein in Baghdad and South Korean author Han Kang's meditative novel The White Book. Chinua Achebe and David Grossman are among the authors to have won the award earlier.

In Flights, she added, Tokarczuk "flies us through a galaxy of departures and arrivals, stories and digressions, all the while exploring matters close to the contemporary and human predicament - where only plastic escapes mortality".


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