The French author Annie Ernaux has won the Nobel Prize for Literature, the organizers announced on Thursday in Stockholm.
Ernaux, 82, has written a number of famous novels, many of which are autobiographical. Her first book “Les armoires vides” was published in French in 1974 and in English as “Cleaned Out” in 1990. She rose to prominence.
She received the prestigious award “for the courage and clinical acuity with which she uncovers the roots, alienations and collective shackles of personal memory”.
Ernaux’s work is heavily inspired by her own life and communicates about family, class, politics and gender.
“Your work is uncompromising and written in clear language, scratched clean,” said Anders Olsson of the Swedish Academy on Thursday when announcing her award.
“And when, with great courage and clinical acuity, she reveals the agony of the class experience by describing shame, humiliation, jealousy or inability to be who one is, she has achieved something admirable and enduring,” Olsson added.
Ernaux was born in 1940 in a rural village in Normandy, northern France, to parents who owned a shop and café. Her upbringing plays a large role in her novels, as does her experience of dealing with adolescence and adulthood.
The academy said they were not able to contact Ernaux before announcing their win but hoped they would hear of their performance soon.
Her novel Happening describes her experience of having a dangerous backyard abortion in 1963, when the procedure was illegal in France.