The Nobel Literature Prize was awarded to French novelist Annie Ernaux on Thursday, the panel announced. Annie Ernaux is well recognised for her deceptively simple novels that draw on personal experience of class and gender. The panel commended Ms. Ernaux, 82, “for the boldness and clinical clarity with which she reveals the roots, estrangements, and collective constraints of personal memory.”
Following the news, Ms. Ernaux was interviewed on Swedish television where she described it as both “a very tremendous honour” and “a great responsibility.” One of the most nuanced, perceptive windows into the social life of contemporary France may be found in her more than 20 books, many of which have been required reading in French classrooms for decades.
The crystallised writing of Ms. Ernaux has mostly revealed her personal journey from a working-class girl to a member of the literary elite while critically examining societal norms and her own nuanced emotions. Her legacy is to provide an alternative to the “unconditional admiration for the attractive phrase,” or as she puts it, to offer “grit in the French literary oyster.”
The Swedish Academy stated that Ernaux “consistently and from various perspectives investigates a life characterised by substantial differences regarding gender, language, and class.” It stated, “Her writing is uncompromising and written in scraped-clean straightforward English. “And she has accomplished something wonderful and lasting when she describes the misery of the experience of class, portraying shame, humiliation, jealousy, or the incapacity to see who you are, with remarkable courage and clinical accuracy.”
According to Annie Ernaux, winning the Nobel Prize for Literature was both a “huge honour” and a “big responsibility.” Moments after winning, Ms. Ernaux told public broadcaster SVT, “I consider this to be a big honour for me and at the same time a great obligation, a responsibility handed to me.”
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