France’s Annie Ernault wins Nobel Prize in Literature

France’s Annie Ernault wins Nobel Prize in Literature

Annie Ernault has been described as one of the most influential voices in contemporary French literature. Few write so radically about their lives and origins as they do. Her books are also celebrated in Germany.

For more than four decades, Annie Erno has been writing books – books about herself and her origins. By doing so, she is not only taking a radical look at her life but also directly reflecting on the time and society in which she was born. The 82-year-old writer, who won this year’s Nobel Prize for Literature on Thursday, describes herself as an ethnologist.

In Germany, critics praised her as a lady of self-literature – a mixture of autobiography and fiction – or even as a female Proust, in reference to her famous compatriot Marcel Proust (1871-1922). Her books regularly appear on Germany’s bestseller lists. One of her most recent works, published in Germany, is the title “The Event”.

Almost entirely autobiographical, the author deals with the author’s almost ruthless attempts to have an abortion at a time when abortion was still considered immoral and criminal. The story is shot by Audrey Dewan, who won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival last year. According to Suhrkamp-Verlag, another volume entitled “The Other Girl” will appear in a new German translation in the next few days.

Read more than twenty books by the author such as The Self-Discovery Project. As she herself says, she tries to find her personal memories in the collective memory, because “I” for her is inconceivable without others and without history.

collective experiences

Thus their stories transcend their personal experiences; They immerse themselves in group experiences that limit their “ego” through social constraints and events. Or, as permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, Mats Malm, justified the award of the prize: Erno was awarded the Nobel Prize for “courageous and clinical ingenuity with which she discovered the roots, alienation, and collective limitations of personal memory.”

And the former French culture minister, Aurelie Filipetti, wrote in a tweet that the writer expressed the lackluster violence of social classes, male dominance, shame and passion. “So many women admit themselves in it,” Filipetti wrote.

Erno was born in Lillebon, Normandy, in 1940 and raised in modest circumstances. Her father earned his living as a simple labourer. Her childhood was marked by the early death of her older sister. After studying modern literature, she became a high school teacher.

In 1974 her first novel, Les armoires vides (The Empty Armoires) was published. When she divorced in 1980 she was the mother of two children. 1984 “La Place” (eng. “The Square”) appeared. The novel, for which she received the prestigious Reno Award, centers around her father and her social development. In “Woman” she evokes the memories of her mother, in “The Simple Passion” a love affair with a married man.

One of her most successful books is “Les années”, “The Years”, from 2008. The work is a review of 60 years of her life, a look at a woman who changes – along with the world.

Her narrative style is neutral and distant. She herself describes it as an objective style that neither reinforces nor diminishes the facts being told. When Ernault was awarded the Prize of the Franco-German Academy in Berlin in 2019, the jury also praised her writing as “extremely modern, daring and brilliantly composed literature on class struggles, the insolence of cultural difference and the liberation of women”.

Here is the photo gallery: Announcing the Nobel Prize in Literature


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