Monday marked the beginning of Nobel Prize announcement week, with Swedish scientist Svante Paabo receiving the prize in medicine for revealing Neanderthal DNA’s hidden information that was crucial to understanding our immune system.
The prize, which is worth 10 million Swedish crowns ($914,704), is given out by the Swedish Academy. Ernaux “consistently and from diverse perspectives, explores a life marked by major discrepancies regarding gender, language, and status,” the Academy claimed in a statement defending its selection.
Her first book, Les Armoires Vides, was published in 1974, but Les Années, which was later translated into The Years in 2017, brought her widespread fame.
The Academy described that book as “her most significant endeavor, which has won her international renown and a flood of supporters and literary disciples.”
Moments after receiving the award, Ernaux told Swedish public broadcaster SVT, “I believe this to be a big honor for me and at the same time a great obligation, a responsibility handed to me.”
The only Nobel laureate in literature who has expressed nostalgia, if not outright ecstasy, for the London neighbourhood of North Finchley is unquestionably Annie Ernaux.
The French author’s style is seen in her 2016 book, “A Girl’s Story.” A very personal biography is woven into the author’s account of her formative late-teen experiences in Normandy and as an au pair in London.
Years later, she travels back to the city for a literary event; but, instead of engaging in a culture like the other attendees, she rides the Train to go “back into my previous life.” “The only thing that counts to me is to embrace life and time, understand, and take joy,” the author says.
Salman Rushdie, an Indian-born author, and supporter of free speech who spent years in exile after being threatened with death over his 1988 book The Satanic Verses by Iran’s then-president Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was a strong contender for this year’s literary award.
After sex abuse claims shook the Swedish Academy, which appoints the Nobel literature committee, and caused a member departure, the award was suspended in 2018.
After making changes, the academy came under fresh fire for awarding the 2019 literature prize to Austria’s Peter Handke, who has been dubbed an enthusiast for Serbian war crimes.
The economics prize will be awarded on Monday, while the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize will indeed be presented on Friday.