Belarusian Writer Wins Nobel Prize

Today, at 1PM CET, the Swedish Academy announced that the 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature is awarded to the Belarusian author Svetlana Alexievich. This is a historic day for Belarusian literature, as Alexievich is the first Belarusian writer to be awarded in this category.

Among 112 winners in literature, Svetlana Alexievich is only the fourteenth woman to receive the award. In 2015, the prize money is eight million Swedish krona (approximately one million USD).

This year’s nomination is the third for the author, but she has been among the favorites from the beginning, ahead of the Japanese author Haruki Murakami, Kenya’s Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, and Norway’s Jon Fosse.

Svetlana Alexievich was born in Ivano–Frankivsk (Stanislav), Ukraine, to a Belarusian father and a Ukrainian mother. She grew up in Belarus. In 1972, Svetlana graduated from the Belarusian State University. She worked as a teacher, as well as a journalist in local newspapers, before becoming a reporter for a literary magazine titled Neman.

Alexievich started her literary work in 1975 and finished her first book, The Unwomanly Face of War, in 1983. However, the book was only published in 1985. The author was often accused of pacifism, naturalism, and the debunking of the heroic image of Soviet women. The other works of Svetlana Alexievich include Zinky Boys: Soviet Voices from the Afghanistan War and Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster. Her books were published in nineteen countries, including the United States of America, Germany, United Kingdom, Sweden, France, and India.

Sara Danius, Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy, made the announcement and said that Alexievich was chosen “for her polyphonic writings: a monument to suffering and courage in our time”.

Belarusian Writer Wins Nobel Prize