The Nobel Prize for Literature goes to Annie Ernaux, the first French laureate

The Nobel Prize for Literature goes to Annie Ernaux, the first French laureate

The French Annie Ernaux and the “courage” of her autobiographical work were awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday. This makes the feminist figure of popular origin the first French woman to receive the award.

The 82-year-old author of around twenty books will be rewarded for “the courage and clinical acumen with which she discovers the roots, the distances and the collective constraints of personal memory,” the Nobel Prize jury explained.

She is the 17th woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature since the famed award was created in 1901, and the 16th of France‘s laureates, eight years after Patrick Modiano.

By being included in the prize list with the famous names of Anatole France, Albert Camus or even Jean-Paul Sartre – who declined the prize – she became, above all, the first French woman to be crowned with the highest literary prize.

“I’m very happy,” “I’m proud,” the winner declared in front of her home in Cergy-Pontoise, in the Paris region, to some journalists, including AFP.

She specified that her December 10 acceptance speech in Stockholm was “an opportunity” for her to speak more fully.

The writer had previously told Swedish television that he felt “a great responsibility” to continue to testify for “a form of fairness, justice in relation to the world”.

With her crystal-clear prose, Annie Ernaux has long been a favorite in literary circles, but she said it came as a big “surprise” to her.

“His work is uncompromising and written in simple, clean language,” said Swedish academic Anders Olsson.

– “Courage and sharpness” –

“When she brings courage and clinical acumen to the contradictions of social experience, describing shame, humiliation, jealousy, or an inability to recognize who one is, she accomplishes something admirable that lasts,” he added.

Annie Ernaux’s clinical style, devoid of any poetry, is the subject of numerous theses.

For many, it evokes the universal in the unique story of its existence. Very quickly she abandons the novel, renews the story of descent and invents the “impersonal autobiography”.

“A woman who writes, that’s all,” says Ernaux, to define himself.

In her work, which is essentially inspired by her life, critics say she has created a remarkable x-ray of a woman’s intimacy that has evolved in step with the upheavals in French society since the post-war period.

Born in 1940, young Annie lived until she was 18 in her parents’ “filthy, dirty, ugly, disgusting” café-grocery store in Yvetot, Upper Normandy, from which she will extricate herself thanks to a collection of modern letters through intense intellectual work .

The literature professor at the University of Cergy-Pontoise has written about twenty stories in which she dissects the weight of class rule and amorous passion, two themes that have marked her path as a woman torn apart by her popular origins.

– Voice of “Women’s Freedom” –

These include Empty Closets (1974), La Place (1983), Les Années (2008), which is considered his masterpiece, and more recently Mémoire de fille (2018).

His latest book, The Young Man, was published by Gallimard, his lifelong publisher, in early May. On Twitter, the famous Parisian house expressed its “huge joy”.

French President Emmanuel Macron welcomed the Nobel Prize award to Annie Eernaux, who he says is the “voice” of “the freedom of women and the forgotten of the century”. She “has been writing the novel of our country’s collective and intimate memory for 50 years,” he adds.

With its 16 awards, France extends its lead as the first nation to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, a title it has held since 1901 with the forgotten Sully Prudhomme and three years later with the Provençal Frédéric Mistral.

Famed – and criticized – for her manly and Eurocentric choices, the Swedish Academy had successively crowned American poet Louise Glück in 2020 and Zanzibar-born British writer Abdulrazak Gurnah in 2021, whose work focuses on the anguish of exile and refugees, anti-colonialism and anti-racism.

The Nobel season continues on Friday with the much-anticipated Peace Prize, the only award to be presented in Oslo. Forecasters prefer a price pegged to Russia or Ukraine or even climate action. It ends on Monday with the business prize.

Reference: www.guadeloupe.franceantilles.fr

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