Kosovo has declared the Nobel literature laureate Peter Handke persona non grata in the country, as the row over the Austrian writer’s award continues to provoke anger and controversy.
Handke was awarded the prize at a ceremony in Stockholm on Tuesday. But the Swedish Academy, which selects the winner, has faced a barrage of criticism for choosing the 77-year-old author.
Handke spoke at the funeral of the former Serbian leader Slobodan Milošević in 2006 and is accused of distorting history over his take on the events accompanying the bloody disintegration of Yugoslavia.
Kosovo’s foreign minister, Behgjet Pacolli, tweeted on Wednesday: “I have decided to declare Peter Handke as persona non grata in Kosovo because of the support he gave to Milošević and his genocidal policies … He and the Nobel prize showed disrespect to the victims of genocide.”
Handke’s award became an instant flashpoint when it was announced in October.
Last week Peter Englund, a member of the Swedish Academy, announced he would boycott the ceremony, adding: “To celebrate Peter Handke’s Nobel prize would be gross hypocrisy on my part.”
The awards ceremony, in which Handke received his SEK9m (£743,000) prize money and medal, was boycotted by the official representatives of at least six countries, including Kosovo.
Christina Doctare, a Swedish doctor and laureate of the 1988 Nobel peace prize, said she would return her award in protest at the choice of Handke, having witnessed the war in Bosnia.