French writer Annie Ernaux receives the Nobel Prize in Literature

Annie Ernaux, one of the most important figures on the contemporary literary scene, received the Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday October 6th. The 82-year-old writer is being rewarded for this “the courage and clinical acuity with which she discovers the roots, the distances and the collective constraints of personal memory”declared the Nobel jury.

The novelist is the 17th woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature and the 16th French winner since the famed award was created in 1901.

With a work that feeds on the story of her own life, on an intimate and social emancipation, the novelist has become one “intellectual reference point” for an entire generation that came to feminism in the wake of the #MeToo movement”underlines the newspaper International mail. “Through her work, she continually explores the experience of a life shaped by vast differences in gender, language and class.”emphasized academic Anders Olsson.

Born Annie Duchesne on September 1, 1940 in Lillebonne (Seine-Maritime), she grew up in Yvetot in Normandy and came from a humble background. His parents, workers, became traders after buying the cafe-grocery store in the village. After studying literature at the University of Rouen and then in Bordeaux, which led her to aggregation, she taught in Annecy in the early 1970s.

The novelist drew the material for her books from her own life, building a literary work brick by brick, bearing witness to her origins, the shame associated with it, her desire for exploitation and all the feelings that accompany social advancement, and made herself so noticeably a work of sociology. Through an essentially autobiographical body of work, Annie Ernaux has charted the inner cartography of a woman and the wider French society since the post-war period.

She has also explored in her novels the question of the feminine condition, that of a woman born during the war and coming of age in the 1960s, a whole life captured in a body of work that is both intimate and universal. She told about childhood, youth, youth in Empty closets (1974), or in what they say or nothing (1977); she talked about her family, her parents and her social emancipation in The place (1983), resp shame (1997).

“I’m not an exhibitionist. I’m not self-centered, even if I’ve been criticized for it. I think I’ve always spoken of myself in a distance, as if I was the site of an experience that I was restoring. I’m talking about myself because I still know this topic best… I’m interested in what may be socially stored in me and in everyone else.”

Annie Ernaux

in Le Monde newspaper, April 2017

The novelist told about her marriage, her children, her work as a teacher The Frozen Woman (Nineteen Eighty One) ; She told the abortion in The event (2000), the death of his mother in A woman (1987), The passion in light passion (1992), The Family Secret, His Sister’s Death Before His Birth The other girl (2011); She also told of the brutal entry into sex life in girl memory (2016) and its city in Look at the lights, my love, a diary of the moments spent in her Auchan hypermarket. Annie Ernaux provided a kind of synthesis of all of this Yearspublished in 2008.

In his latest novel The young man (Gallimard, 2022), Annie Ernaux returns in a short and dense text to the story she lived with a man thirty years her junior in her fifties. An experience that connects her with her youth and always leads her back to what is important to her, writing. The young man is a reflection on the passage of time, on the maturity that causes each new experience to reflect the previous ones, as in a great case of reasoning.

Annie Ernaux has also become a role model for a young generation of writers such as Edouard Louis. “Annie Ernaux spoke of the working class; I’m talking about the lower class. We continue what the other started. She made other stories possible, she opened doors.”he confided to the Canadian newspaper The pressat the time of publication of Struggles and metamorphoses of a womanin May 2021.

Maria Pourchet, author of Fire (Gallimard, 2021), entrusted The world Learned from Annie Ernaux in 2019 “The Role of Language in Girls’ Education”. “It also allowed me to eliminate the style issue, the worry about looking pretty. She is the clerk of reality.”, she added. The Goncourt 2017, Nicolas Mathieu, or the historian and novelist Ivan Jablonka do not hide their admiration for Annie Ernaux.

The novelist was shortlisted as a finalist for the 2019 Man Booker International Prize Years (2008, Gallimard) Published in English in 2018, like most of his works, has so far been little translated into Shakespeare’s language.

If Annie Ernaux’s work has not been adapted for cinema, two of her novels were recent: light passionby Danielle Arbid, published August, based on her 1992 novel in which she told of a woman in her forties’ passion for a married man, and The eventby Audrey Diwan, Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, based on the 2000 novel in which she tells the story of her abortion.

The life and work of Annie Ernaux are also the focus of a documentary I liked living thereby Régis Sauder, recorded in Cergy-Pontoise (Val-d’Oise), where Annie Ernaux lived.

In May 2022 at the Cannes Film Festival, Annie Ernaux presented the film The Super 8 years, produced with his son David Ernaux-Briot. Like his literary work, this documentary is very personal, autobiographical and political, universal. It is a pictorial testimony of the life of a French family in the 1970s, it is above all an intimate and committed story, a look at the woman who only wants to free herself from her “maintenance order” and organization of domestic life, a woman “class defector”one woman in particular “bored with the need to write”.

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