French Author Annie Ernaux Wins 2022 Nobel Prize For Literature
French author Annie Ernaux won the 2022 Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022, for "the courage and clinical acuity" in her largely autobiographical books examining personal memory and social inequality, Tassilo Hummel and Simon Johnson reported for Reuters.
Photo Insert: Ernaux during a book signing
In explaining its choice, the Swedish Academy said Ernaux, 82, "consistently and from different angles, examines a life marked by strong disparities regarding gender, language, and class." The first French woman to win the literature prize, Ernaux said winning was "a responsibility."
"I was very surprised ... I never thought it would be on my landscape as a writer," Ernaux told Swedish broadcaster SVT. "It is a great responsibility ... to testify, not necessarily in terms of my writing, but to testify with accuracy and justice in relation to the world."
She has previously said that writing is a political act, opening our eyes for social inequality. "And for this purpose she uses language as 'a knife,' as she calls it, to tear apart the veils of imagination," the academy said.
Her debut novel was Les Armoires Vides in 1974 but she gained international recognition following the publication of Les Années in 2008, translated into The Years in 2017.
"It is her most ambitious project, which has given her an international reputation and a raft of followers and literary disciples," the academy said of that book.
Born to a modest family of grocers from Normandy in northern France, Ernaux wrote about class and how she struggled to adopt the codes and habits of the French bourgeoisie while staying true to her working class background.
An adaptation of Ernaux's 2000 novel Happening, about her experiences of having an abortion when it was still illegal in France in the 1960s, won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 2021.