The Nobel Prize for Literature awarded to the French Annie Ernaux, author of an autobiographical, universal and political work

Annie Ernaux, one of the major figures of the contemporary literary scene, received the Nobel Prize for Literature on Thursday 6 October. The 82-year-old writer is awarded “the courage and clinical acuity with which he discovers the roots, distances and collective bonds of personal memory”explained the Nobel jury.

The writer is the first woman among 16 French writers to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature since the famous prizes were founded in 1901. Annie Ernaux also becomes the 17th woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.

With a work that feeds on the story of her own life, on an intimate and social emancipation at the same time, the writer has become a “intellectual reference” for an entire generation that has come to feminism in the wake of the #MeToo movement “underlines the newspaper International mail. “In his work he constantly explores the experience of a life marked by great disparities in terms of gender, language and class”pointed out academician Anders Olsson.

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

The writer drew the material for her books from her own life, building a literary work stone by stone, while testifying her class of origin, the shame attached to it, her desire for extraction, and all the feelings that accompany the social rise, thus making it a work of sociology. Through an essentially autobiographical work, Annie Ernaux draws the inner cartography of a woman as much as that, wider, of all women, and beyond that of French society since the war.

“It is both the story of my life, but also that of thousands of women who have also been in search of freedom and emancipation”.

Annie Ernaux

on his novel “The Years” (2008) in Cannes, May 2022

She has also explored in her novels the question of the female condition, that of a woman born during the war and grown up in the 1960s, an entire life recorded in a work that is both intimate and universal. You told of childhood, adolescence, youth Empty cabinets (1974), or in what they say or nothing (1977); he told about his family, his parents and his social emancipation The square (1983), o Shame (1997).

“I am not an exhibitionist. I am not self-centered even though I have been criticized for this. I think I have always spoken of myself in distant terms, as if I were the place of an experience that I was restoring. I speak of myself because it is the subject. that I know better the same … I am interested in what may have been deposited in social media in me as in all the others “

Annie Ernaux

in the newspaper Le Monde, in April 2017

The writer told about her marriage, her children, her teaching job in The frozen woman (nineteen eighty-one); told abortion in The event (2000), mother’s death in A woman (1987), the passion in easy passion (1992), the family secret, the death of the sister before her birth The other girl (2011); he also recounted the brutal entry into sex life memory of the girl (2016) and his city in Look at the lights my love, a diary of the moments spent in his Auchan hypermarket. Annie Ernaux has provided a summary form of all this in Yearsreleased in 2008.

In his latest novel, The young man (Gallimardo, 2022), Annie Ernaux returns in a short and dense text to the story she lived with a man thirty years younger than her when she was fifty. An experience that reconnects her to her youth, and brings her back, again and again, to what is essential to her, her writing.

“I’m a woman who writes, that’s all”

Annie Ernaux

in Cannes, May 2022

The young man it is a reflection on the passing of time, on maturity, which makes each new experience echo the one that preceded it, 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 told of the working classes; I tell of the underclass. Let’s continue on what the other started. She made other stories possible, she opened the doors”he confided to the Canadian newspaper The printupon release of Fights and metamorphosis of a womanin May 2021.

Maria Pourchet, author of Stoplight (Gallimard, 2021), confided in The world in 2019 after learning from Annie Ernaux “the role of language in girls’ education”. “It also allowed me to evacuate the question of style, the worry of looking pretty. She is the employee of reality.”she added. The 2017 Goncourt, Nicolas Mathieu, or the historian and novelist Ivan Jablonka, do not hide their admiration for Annie Ernaux.

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

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

The life and work of Annie Ernaux are also at the center of a documentary, I liked living thereby Régis Sauder, shot in Cergy-Pontoise (Val-d’Oise), Annie Ernaux’s place of residence.

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 both very personal, autobiographical and political, universal. A testimony in images of the life of a French family in the 70s, it is above all an intimate and committed story, a look at the woman who wishes to free herself from her unique “education assignment” and organization of domestic life, a woman “class defector”a woman above all, “strong by the need to write”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *