This year the Nobel Prize in Literature is awarded to French author Annie Ernaux “for the courage and clinical acuity with which she uncovers the roots, estrangements and collective restraints of personal memory“.
Due to past few years with Covid quarantine and restrictions , the Swedish Academy will present the prize to her on December 10th in Stockholm.
“Born in 1940, her setting was poor but ambitious” says Anders Olsson, Chairman of the Nobel Committee, The Swedish Academy, “In her writing, Ernaux consistently and from different angles, examines a life marked by strong disparities regarding gender, language and class. Her path to authorship was long and arduous.”
The Laureate grew up in the small town of Yvetot in Normandy, where her parents had a combined grocery store and café. Her works centre around her memory. She has a classic, distinctive style but says she is an “ethnologist of herself” rather than a writer of fiction. This ambition has led her to rip apart the veil of fiction to provide a methodical reconstruction of the past but also to attempt to write a ‘raw’ type of prose in the form of a diary.
Annie Ernaux’s literary breakthrough came in her fourth book, La place (1983; A Man’s Place, 1992) where in a mere hundred pages she produced a dispassionate portrait of her father and the entire social milieu that had fundamentally formed him.
The Laureate believes in the liberating force of writing. “Her work is uncompromising and written in plain language, scraped clean. And when she with great courage and clinical acuity reveals the agony of the experience of class, describing shame, humiliation, jealousy or inability to see who you are, she has achieved something admirable and enduring.” says Anders Olsson, Chairman of the Nobel Committe