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Belarusian journalist and author Svetlana Alexievich wins Nobel Prize for Literature

9th October 2015

The Belarusian journalist and author Svetlana Alexievich has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. The chair of the Swedish Academy, Sara Danius, said her work, which explores conflict and its aftermath, was a "monument to suffering and courage in our time".

Alexievich’s oral histories have recorded thousands of individual voices to map the implosion of the Soviet Union. She has written short stories, essays and journalist but is best known for her “collective novel” style of writing in which men, women and children talk about their personal experience of Soviet and post-Soviet history. Voices from Chernobyl includes interviews with hundreds of people affected by the nuclear disaster, while Zinky Boys looks at the Afghan war from the point of view of widows, mothers and doctors as well as those directly involved in the fighting.

Her work has been translated into German, French and Swedish but very little of it is available in English.

She is the 14th woman to win the prize since it was first awarded in 1901. The most recent female winner was Canada’s Alice Munro, in 2013. Last year’s winner was Patrick Modiano.



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