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Literature Nobel Prize 2015
Oct 09, 2015

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2015 is awarded to Svetlana Alexievich of Belarus for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time.

Her work chronicles many of the most important and traumatic events of Soviet history, telling those stories through the narratives of individuals who experienced them.

 

  • She produces what you might call oral histories of Soviet life, and of life in post-Soviet republics since the Soviet Union collapsed.

  • She has written short stories, essays and reportage but says she found her voice under the influence of the Belorusian writer Ales Adamovich.

  • Alexievich's work reads like a series of interviews: subjects who experienced something firsthand, like the 1986 nuclear disaster in Chernobyl, tell their stories directly to the reader. The stories are often very personal.

  • Her work would be powerful and beautifully written in any country, but it is especially valuable in a country (and countries) where individual narratives have been suppressed, and where the suffering has been so terrible.

Alexievich was born on the 31 May 1948 in the Ukrainian town of Ivano-Frankovsk into a family of a serviceman. Her father is Belarusian and her mother is Ukrainian. After her father’s demobilisation from the army the family returned to his native Belorussia and settled in a village where both parents worked as school teachers. She left school to work as a reporter on the local paper in the town of Narovl.


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