The narrator, one of the greats of French literature, shamelessly reveals the feminine condition in her work
Annie Ernaux is the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature 2022, which the Swedish Academy has failed this Thursday. She takes over from British of Tanzanian origin Abdulrazak Gurnah, winner of 2021.
. Refusing to please the more peaceful expectations of a well-to-do reader, he challenges the society of his time with an unusual crudeness that is difficult to find among his contemporaries.
The rigorous literary work of Ernaux (Lillebonne, 1940) is a “relentless exercise in truth that penetrates the most intimate recesses of consciousness” according to the jury that awarded him the Formentor de las Letras prize in 2019.
«I can accept that my writing is crude, because I have never written in search of a beautiful phrase», he admitted then. «I have always fled from ornamental writing. I am looking for fair and true sentences, not beautiful ones », he stressed « Writing is politics and the most important political act I can do is write », he insisted.
Innovative and courageous, she tackled experiences as painful as abortion (‘The Event’), the death of her father (‘The Place’), her mother’s illness (‘I haven’t gotten out of my night’), cancer (‘The use of the photo’), the collapse of marriage (‘La mujer iceda’) or the recovery of the sexual drive (‘Pure passion’).
These are some of the works of a narrator who shows “the reverse of apparently obvious events” who renounced fiction and her class to find her place in the world and in literature by entering the depths of her self. “Writing is political, and for me a supreme political act.”
That rejection of fiction made her the writer she is. “It was progressive. I would have liked to fabulate about the world of my parents and my childhood, but it was impossible. I thought that it was not legitimate to write about me, and as a result of that finding I rejected fiction. I couldn’t go from there. When I started writing I had the memory of some things I had experienced, but not the social memory that later became so present in my work », she explained.
The French writer Michel Houellebecq, who was the main favorite of the bookmakers to win the award, was left in the gutter, along with the British Salman Rushdie, the Russian Liudmila Ulítskaya and the French Annie Ernaux.
The Norwegians Jon Fosse, Karl Ove Knausgård and Dag Solstad, the Russian Vladimir Sorokin, the American Cormac McCarthy and the Nigerian Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi also appeared in the pools.
The death of Javier Marías on September 11 left Hispanic letters without the candidate who had made the most noise in recent years to succeed Marios Vargas Llosa, along with others such as Eduardo Mendoza, Enrique Vila-Matas or the Argentine César Aira.
In the 122-year history of the Nobel Prize, the Swedish Academy had distinguished 118 writers to date, 16 of them women and more than 80% from Europe or North America. In the list of winners there is a clear command of the English language (31 winners), ahead of French and German (14) and Spanish (11).
The average age of the winners is 65 years, with the British Ruyard Kipling as the youngest winner (41 years) and Doris Lessing as the oldest (88 years).
Recent winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature include Abdulrazak Gurnah (2021, Tanzania-United Kingdom), Louise Glück (2020, United States), Kazuo Ishiguro (2017, United Kingdom), Bob Dylan (2016, United States), Svetlana Aleksiévich ( 2015, Belarus), Patrick Modiano (2014, France), Alice Munro (2013, Canada), Mo Yan (2012, China), Tomas Transtrmer (2011, Sweden) or Mario Vargas Llosa (2010, Peru).
The Nobel Prize for Literature is the fourth that has been known this 2022. On Monday, the Swedish paleogeneticist Svante Pääbo was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his genomic studies on Neanderthals and Denisovans, which have transformed the understanding of human evolution. This Tuesday they received the Physics Anton Zeilinger, Alain Aspect and John Clauser for their pioneering work in quantum information. Yesterday the one for Chemistry was announced, which went to Carolyn R. Bertozzi, Morten Meldal and K. Barry Sharpless, the promoters of the coupling between molecules. Tomorrow, Friday, the one for Peace will be announced and next Monday, October 10, the one for Economy.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.