France’s longtime self-examination Erno wins Nobel Prize in Literature

  • Arnox is the author of quite a few autobiographies
  • Works that study the differences between gender, language, and class
  • The literature prize is the fourth of this year’s Nobel Prizes

STOCKHOLM/PARIS (Reuters) – French writer Annie Ernault won the 2022 Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday for “courage and clinical sharpness” for her autobiographical books that tackle personal memory and social inequality.

In explaining his choice, the Swedish Academy “He constantly and from different angles studies life characterized by strong disparities with regard to gender, language, and class,” said Erno, 82.

Ernault, the first French woman to win the literature prize, said winning the prize was “enormous”.

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She previously said that writing is a political act, opening our eyes to social inequality. For this purpose language is used as a “knife”, as it is called, to tear the veil of imagination, ” The academy said.

Her first novel was “Les Armoires Vides” in 1974 but she gained international fame after the publication of “Les Années” in 2008, and translated into English as “The Years” in 2017.

“It is her most ambitious project, which has earned her international fame and a large group of followers and students of literature,” the Academy said of the book.

By replacing “automatic memory of the self” with the third pronoun of collective memory in its narrative, the Academy said of “the years,” Ernault fuses both personal and collective memory.

Born into a humble family of grocers from Normandy in northern France, Erno writes in a candid and straightforward style about class and how she struggled to adopt the rules and customs of the French bourgeoisie while remaining true to her working-class background.

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Swedish Academy member Anders Olsson told Reuters it’s a long way to go in her life. “She is a brave woman.”

ruthlessly honest

A film adaptation of Erno’s 2000 novel “Happening” about her experience with abortion when it was still illegal in France in the 1960s, won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 2021.

“I did not imagine at the time that after 22 years the right to abortion would be challenged,” Arnaud told reporters in Paris. “Until my last breath, I will fight for a woman’s right to choose whether or not she wants to be a mother.”

Erno also touched on the political power that the far right has won in countries across Europe in recent years, saying that “the far right in history has never been in favor of women.”

Among her works, the academy said, her “clinically restricted account” of the miscarriage of a 23-year-old novelist remained a masterpiece.

“It is a mercilessly candid text, in which parentheses add reflections in a vivid voice, addressing itself and the reader in the same flow,” the academy said.

Jason Whitaker, chair of the Department of English and Journalism at Britain’s Lincoln University, said the award should bring more attention to the genre of women’s biography, “which is often overlooked in a field that is still male-dominated”.

Similar to what happened when Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk won the award in 2018, he said, recognition of Erno’s work will appeal to English-language readers.

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“It was a very important contribution in terms of the memoir and autobiographical work,” Whitaker told Reuters. “In terms of her contribution to world literature, it is really important to put the innovation and interesting techniques of women’s memoirs at the heart of literary writing.”

Women’s rights

Seven Stories Press, Ernaux’s publisher in the US for 31 years, said it published the English translation of its latest book, “Getting Lost”, just two days before winning the Nobel Prize, and is now speeding up publication of several of its titles to the backlist.

Dan Simon, publisher of Seven Stories Press, said in a statement that Ernault “has stood up for herself as a woman, as someone who came from the French working class, unbending, decade after decade.”

In choosing Erno, he said, the Swedish Academy made a brave choice “for someone who writes unabashedly about her sexuality, about women’s rights, experience, and sensibilities as a woman.”

Former French Culture Minister Roseline Bachelot wrote on Twitter that Ernault is “a writer who has put her autobiography in her cold, analytical style at the center of her career. One may not agree with her political choices but one must pay tribute to an influential and influential work.”

Nobel ‘badge’

The awards for achievements in science, literature, and peace were created by the will of Swedish chemist and engineer Alfred Nobel, whose invention of dynamite made him rich and famous, and have been awarded since 1901.

The prize money is 10 million Swedish kronor ($915,000).

The award, widely regarded as the world’s finest literary award, was won by Tanzanian novelist Abdul Razak Jarna last year.

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Some of the awards have gone to writers outside the mainstream literary genres, including French philosopher Henri Bergson in 1927, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1953, and American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan in 2016.

Readers in France said they were waiting for Ernault to win. “It seems taken for granted,” said Marie Roison, 48. “What I loved between Annie Erno’s work — the work she did to become — to be able to enter somewhere else in a society she didn’t come from, despite the difficulty of succeeding.”

Erno suggested that winning was a blessing and a curse.

“I’ve always said I don’t want a Nobel Prize,” she told reporters at the office of her French publisher, Gallimard.

“Because once you have it, then you always have that badge attached to your name, and I’m afraid that might mean one no longer evolves once the statue is made.”

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Additional reporting by Simon Johnson, Niklas Pollard and Johan Allander in Stockholm, Terje Solsvik in Oslo and Justina Paulak in Warsaw. Paris and Jonathan Allen in New York and Mary Mann in Gdansk Writing by Justina Pavlac Editing by Nick McPhee, Frances Kerry and Sandra Mahler

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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