Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Svetlana Alexievich wins Nobel Literature prize

Belarusian writer and journalist Svetlana Alexievich has won the 2015 Nobel Prize for literature.

Announcing the prize in Stockholm, the chair of the Swedish Academy, Sara Danius, called her writing “a monument to courage and suffering in our time”.

Alexievich called the award, presented to a living writer and worth 8m kronor (£691,000), “a great personal joy.”

Previous winners include literary heavyweights Rudyard Kipling and Ernest Hemingway.

French novelist Patrick Modiano won in 2014. It has been half a century since a writer working primarily in non-fiction won the Nobel – and Alexievich is the first journalist to win the award.

“It’s not an award for me but for our culture, for our small country, which has been caught in a grinder throughout history,” she said at a press conference on Thursday at a local newspaper’s offices in Minsk, Belarus.

Living in exile

Her best-known works in English translation include Voices from Chernobyl, an oral history of the 1986 nuclear catastrophe; and Zinky Boys, a collection of first-hand accounts from the Soviet-Afghan war. The title refers to the zinc coffins in which the dead came home.

The book caused controversy and outrage when it was first published in Russia, where reviewers called it a “slanderous piece of fantasy” and part of a “hysterical chorus of malign attacks”.

Alexievich has also been critical of her home country’s government, leading to a period of persecution – in which her telephone was bugged and she was banned from making public appearances.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

She spent 10 years in exile from 2000, living in Italy, France, Germany and Sweden, among other places, before moving back to Minsk.

“I love the Russian world, but the kind, humane Russian world,” she added, talking of the country under President Vladimir Putin.

“I do not love Beria, Stalin, Putin… how low they let Russia sink.”

Belarusian and Russian reaction to Alexievich prize

  • “A new national leader has appeared in Belarus, She has more authority now than any politician – the president or a minister. And she’s someone with normal European values” Belarusian playwright and screenwriter Andrey Kureychyk
  • “It will go down in the history of the development of the Belarusian nation, society and state” Belarus foreign ministry
  • “Alas, she was given the prize for her hatred towards Russia” Pro-Kremlin Russian journalist Dmitry Smirnov
  • “She represents the Russian world without Putin: the world of Russian language and literature, which opposes the Russian government. The Nobel prize has given us a spiritual leader.” Independent Russian journalist Oleg Kashin speaking on Ekho Moskvy radio

The author was born in 1948 in the Ukrainian town of Ivano-Frankivsk, then known as Stanislav,to a Belarusian father and Ukrainian mother.

The family moved to Belarus after her father completed his military service, and Alexievich studied journalism at the University of Minsk between 1967 and 1972.

After graduation, she worked as a journalist for several years before publishing her first book, War’s Unwomanly Face, in 1985.

Based on interviews with hundreds of women who participated in the World War Two, it set a template for her future works, constructing narratives from witnesses to some the world’s most devastating events.

Svetlana Alexievich's books
Image copyrightGetty Images
Image captionSvetlana Alexievich’s works also won her the Swedish PEN prize

On her personal website, Alexievich explains her pursuit of journalism: “I chose a genre where human voices speak for themselves.”

Alexievich has previously won the Swedish PEN prize for her “courage and dignity as a writer”.

Ms Danius said the author had spent nearly 40 years studying the people of the former Soviet Union, but that her work was not only about history but “something eternal, a glimpse of eternity”.

“By means of her extraordinary method – a carefully composed collage of human voices – Alexievich deepens our comprehension of an entire era,” the Swedish Academy added.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Alexievich was the bookmakers’ favourite to win 2015 Nobel award, according to Ladbrokes.

She beat other hot favourites Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami and Kenyan novelist Ngugi Wa Thiong’o.

She is the 14th woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in its history.

A total of 112 individuals have won it between 1901 and 2015. The prize was suspended several times during the first and second world wars.


You May Also Like


Professing to be the lead in Thai relationship with over 1.5 million enrolled single people, Cupid Media’s ThaiCupid brings the one in every of...


Read more about switzerland women here. Swiss ladies and men are not reknown for being the most chatty, outgoing or spontaneous when meeting strangers...


An exclusive article form Orestis Karipis In the 1930’s and 1940’s acid was the weapon of deceived husbands and wives in the Western world...


In food, if there is one thing you can say without fear of contradiction, it is this: Britain loves burgers. The UK market is...

Copyright © 2020 All Rights Reserved