Books

Annie Ernaux: Nobel Prize for Literature 2022

Annie Ernaux: Nobel Prize for Literature 2022

A French author who is more than 80 years old and has signed fourteen novels has just won the 2022 Nobel Prize for Literature, the most prestigious literary award.

At the moment of writing these lines, it seems that the Swedish Academy has not yet joined the author, according to the media. Rfi.

She is thus the seventeenth woman to receive this recognition.

The Swedish Academy praised on Twitter “the courage and surgical acumen with which it exposes the deep roots, misdirections and collective limitations of intimate memory” (translation from News).

Bookseller Jocelyne Vachon of La Maison de L’Éducation in Montreal captures the essence of Ernaux’s work very well: “This is her writing project: a woman who lived from 1940 to the present day. This woman is Annie Ernaux. But beware! No stupid, narcissistic, highly praised and smug autofiction. Too professional, Annie Ernaux is too brilliant. Dive into the heart of his life as well as into the heart of history. Each of the decades that made up his life is masterfully described both intimately and socially. It is a heart that beats, a soul that vibrates, intelligence that understands, eyes that observe, it is the trace of one life on the beauties, achievements, failures and upheavals of an entire era. »

Among other important awards, Annie Ernaux received the Renaudot Award in 1984 for I like it and the Marguerite-Duras and François-Mauriac awards in 2008 thanks to her story Years. To absorb the work of Annie Ernaux, in the “Quarto” collection of Gallimard, an anthology is available that gathers twelve of the author’s texts under the title write a life.

His latest work, published in June 2022, was commented between our pages by the bookseller Océane Roberge (Pantoute) as follows: “An opus of about forty pages, young man Annie Ernaux (Gallimard) presents itself as a reflection on memory, otherness and time, but above all — always — on the act of writing : while looking back on the affair she had with a young student thirty years younger, the author tells how she sometimes made love in order to “[s]”force to write” and experience “certainty that there is no greater pleasure than writing a book”. Revisiting the places of his own youth, Ernaux reveals to us the intimacy of a love relationship carried out to the end, to repetition, distance and termination. To go to the end of experience – life – through words: this is what his work is. »

In order to learn more about this writer who is now in the pantheon of essentials, if this was not already the case, we invite you to read the column dedicated to him by Robert Lévesque.

Photography: © Francesca Mantovani / Gallimard

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