French writer Annie Ernaux has won the Nobel Prize for Literature. At a news conference this morning announcing the win, the Swedish Academy cited her for "the courage and clinical acuity with which she uncovers the roots, estrangements and collective restraints of personal memory." The author of more than 20 works, mainly fiction, Ernaux is best known for her memoir The Years, published in a translation by Alison L. Strayer by Seven Stories Press. The translation was shortlisted for the 2019 Man Booker International Prize, and received the 31st Annual French-American Translation Prize for nonfiction and the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation.
Getting Lost, a diary of the affair she had with a younger, married Soviet diplomat, also translated by Strayer, was published by Seven Stories just days ago. The affair was also the basis for her novel Simple Passion. Seven Stories has published other titles by Ernaux, including A Girl's Story, A Woman's Story, Getting Lost and Shame. Seven Stories publisher Dan Simon described Ernaux to the New York Times as someone who "stood up for herself as a woman, as someone who came from the French working class, unbowed, for decade after decade." He also said the Nobel committee had made "a brave choice by choosing someone who writes unabashedly about her sexual life, about women's rights and her experience and sensibility as a woman--and for whom writing is life itself."
French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted: "Annie Ernaux has been writing for 50 years the novel of the collective and intimate memory of our country. Her voice is that of women's freedom, and the century's forgotten ones."
Yale University Press is planning to publish Ernaux's Look at the Lights, My Love in 2023. Her work has also been adapted into films, including Happening (2021) and Simple Passion (2020). The Nobel Literature Prize awards ceremony will take place in Stockholm on December 10.