The Nobel Prize in Literature 2015 has been awarded to Belarusian writer Svetlana Alexievich “for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time”.
Svetlana Alexievich is a Belarusian investigative journalist and prose writer. She wrote narratives from interviews with witnesses to the most dramatic events in the country, such as World War II, Soviet-Afghan war, fall of the Soviet Union, and Chernobyl disaster.
Her first book War’s Unwomanly Face came out in 1985. It was repeatedly reprinted and sold out in more than two million copies. This novel is made up of monologues of women in the war speaking about the aspects of World War II that had never been related before.
Her most notable works in English translation are about first-hand accounts from the war in Afghanistan (Zinky Boys) and a highly praised oral history of the Chernobyl disaster (Voices from Chernobyl).
Svetlana Alexievich is the first Belarusian to win this prestigious literary award.
Her competitors were Anne Carson (Canada), Ngugi wa Thiong’o (Kenya), Philip Roth and Don DeLillo (USA), Nuruddin Farah (Somali), Peter Handke (Austria), Haruki Murakami (Japan).
Last year, the Nobel Prize in Literature was given to French writer Patrick Modiano.
The Nobel Prize in Literature derives from a fund which was created from the fortune left by inventor and industrialist Alfred Nobel (1833–96) and which is managed by the Nobel Foundation.
The task of selecting the recepient of the Prize was entrusted to the Swedish Academy by Nobel in his will. The first Nobel Prize was awarded in 1901.
Those entitled to nominate candidates for the Prize are the members of the Academy, members of academies and societies similar to it in membership and aims, professors of literature and language, former Nobel laureates in literature, and the presidents of writers’ organisations which are representative of their country’s literary production.
The honoured author receives the prize ($953,000) from the hands of the King in Stockholm Concert Hall on December 10th – Nobel Day.