The jury selected her book "Flights", translated by Jennifer Croft, from a shortlist that featured six titles.
The Man Booker International Prize is a prominent literary distinction awarded each year in Great Britain to the author and translator of the best book translated into English and published in the UK. The financial award is GBP 50,000 (PLN 245,000), shared equally among the author and translator.
Both the winner and the shortlisted authors are guaranteed a worldwide readership plus an increase in book sales.
In her short speech during the ceremony at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Polish writer especially thanked her translator, emphasising that it is amazing to be able to work together with her and to find someone who shows so much dedication, and searches for publishers with such determination.
At the same time, Tokarczuk stressed that although she is the first Pole who has been awarded the Man Booker prize, she does not believe in national literature. Rather, she treats literature as a living creature that appears in one language and then can be translated into another, which is another miracle.
Lisa Appignanesi, who led the judging panel, said that "Tokarczuk is a writer of wonderful wit, imagination and literary panache."
"In 'Flights', brilliantly translated by Jennifer Croft, by a series of startling juxtapositions she 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," Appignanesi added.
Olga Tokarczuk was born in 1962 in Sulechów, in western Poland. She is a psychologist by profession. (PAP)