The Nobel Prize for Literature à la Française Annie Ernaux – The 2022 Nobel Prizes

The French writer Annie Ernaux is the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature 2022. She becomes the 17th woman – and the first French woman – to obtain this prize since 1909, thwarting the forecasts which saw another Frenchman becoming a laureate, Michel Houellebecq.

The 82-year-old writer is rewarded for “the courage and clinical acuity with which she discovers the roots, the distances and the collective constraints of personal memory”, explained the Nobel jury.

On Swedish television, Annie Ernaux said that this Nobel Prize represented for her a “very great honor” and a “responsibility”.

A clinical style

Through an essentially autobiographical work, Annie Ernaux has produced a remarkable radiography of the intimacy of a woman who has evolved with the upheavals of French society since the post-war period. This professor of literature at the University of Cergy-Pontoise has written about twenty stories in which she dissects the weight of class domination and amorous passion, two themes that have marked her itinerary as a woman torn by her popular origins. Among these are notably “Empty cabinets” (1974), “La Place” (1982) or “The years” (2008) or more recently “Memory of girls” (2018).

“In her work, she constantly explores the experience of a life marked by great disparities in terms of gender, language and class”, underlined academician Anders Olsson. His clinical style, devoid of any lyricism, is the subject of numerous theses.

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