Svetlana Alexievich Becomes The 14th Woman To Win The Nobel Prize In Literature

by Dawn Day

Svetlana Alexievich is the winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature for her impactful works that captured the historically rich stories by combining journalism and literature, The Swedish Academy announced today. The Academy released a statement saying that Alexievich was chosen “for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time.”

The 67-year-old Belarusian writer and journalist — known for titles like Voices From Chernobyl and Zinky Boys: Soviet Voices from the Afghanistan War — is the fourteenth woman on the list of Nobel Prize in Literature winners, joining authors including Toni Morrison and Alice Munro. Ninety-eight men have won the award since its creation in 1901 – but, with the exception of the Nobel Peace Prize, the Nobel Prize in Literature is still the Nobel Prize with the most women laureates.

The Nobel Prize in Literature is not awarded to a single piece an author creates, but to “the most outstanding work in an ideal direction,” as stated in Alfred Nobel’s will outlining the series of prizes. Alexievich said in an interview with Dalkey Archive Press that her work is inspired by the tradition of Russian oral history.

“Each person offers a text of his or her own. And realized I could make a book out of them. Life moves on much too fast—only collectively can we create a single, many-sided picture. I wrote all five of my books in this way. The heroes, feelings, and events in my books are all real,” she told Dalkey Archive Press.

Congratulations Svetlana on this historic, and mighty accomplishment! 

Photo via Flickr/Jack Davidson.

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