French author Annie Ernaux gets the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2022.

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The French author Annie Ernaux has been given this year’s Nobel Prize in literature “for the boldness and clinical clarity with which she discovers the foundations, estrangements, and collective restrictions of human memory.” The 2022 Nobel Prize in Literature was announced by the Swedish Academy today. In her literature, Ernaux explores a life characterized by significant linguistic, racial, and socioeconomic inequalities. She has penned more than thirty literary works, some of which include autobiographical depictions of her parents.

The French author claimed that writing is a political act that helps us become more aware of social inequality. She cuts through the layers of imagination with words acting as “a knife.” The desire to “tear apart the veil of fiction” prompted Ernaux to meticulously reconstruct the past as well as make an attempt at writing “raw” prose in the form of a diary, logging only external events, according to the Nobel Prize website.

Ernaux was born in 1940, and she spent her childhood in the Normandy village of Yvetot, where her parents had a grocery store and café. The website added that the girl’s environment was “poor but ambitious, with parents who had clawed their way out of proletariat existence to a bourgeois life, where the memory of pounded earth floors never went but where politics was rarely approached.” Les armoires vides, Ernaux’s 1974 debut book (Cleaned Out, 1990), was when she first began exploring her Norman heritage. However, it wasn’t until her fourth book, La place, (1983; A Man’s Place, 1992), that she achieved literary success. She created a “passionate” image of her father and the complete social environment that had fundamentally shaped him in just 100 pages.

The language of Ernaux has a political component as well. She constantly writes with a sense of treason against the socioeconomic class she comes from.

“I have always wanted to write the sort of book that I find it impossible to talk about afterwards, the sort of book that makes it impossible for me to tolerate the gaze of others,” Ernaux says in her book Shame. She finds refuge in literature to express things that are difficult to say in person. “Annie Ernaux has made it clear that she believes in the empowering power of writing. Her writing is straightforward, uncompromising, and bare-bones. Anders Olsson, Chairman of the Nobel Committee, notes that when she describes the embarrassment, humiliation, jealousy, or incapacity to perceive who you are, she describes the misery of the experience of class with extraordinary daring and clinical accuracy.

Mayank Tewari


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