West indian literature

Garlands for Ernaux, Nobel Prize for Literature 2022

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“Winning the Nobel Prize at the age of Ernaux eloquently reinforces the belief that it is never too late for anyone to achieve their dreams”

The 82-year-old French writer, Annie Ernaux has once again demonstrated the validity of the axiom: “age is no obstacle to success since she wins the coveted prize at an age when many give up life, believing they had done the most they could and are now waiting for death to take its last bow before the world.

The Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to the author born in Lille Bonne, France, in recognition of her bravery and novelty in exposing the origins and societal limits of individual memory, following a fierce competition with other literary giants around the world. Apart from being a popular French writer, the novelist is famous for writing realistic stories, exploring the day-to-day lifestyle of a typical French national.

Anders Olsson, chairman of the Nobel Committee for Literature, congratulated the octogenarian shortly after the official announcement, saying she is a remarkable writer who has reinvented literature in many ways. Ernaux’s writings present elements of her roots in French culture and the cumulative wealth of experiences she has accumulated through the different phases of life. Winning the Nobel Prize at the age of Ernaux eloquently reinforces the belief that it is never too late for anyone to achieve their dreams.

Despite her advanced age, the Nobel laureate is renowned for being a remarkable writer whose powerful prose portrays country life in a booming society that, ironically, still reflects the age-old conflict between poor and rich.

Citing examples of innovations never before seen in Ernaux’s novel La Place in French, Anders Olsson remarked: “It’s a short but wonderful portrait of a father. It’s very, very sensitive and concise, sometimes it’s a very affectionate image. She also gets the special mentions he deserves and she can also be very critical in her observations and that’s special for her. Anders also observed that Ernaux is a genius who reinvented literature in many ways. “She has roots in French culture and heritage, which support and can comfort the richness of her experiences from childhood and other stages of life, and this is something that is extremely important to her.” , she said. The professor is also known for her ingenuity in recreating personal life experiences in her works.

Describing an unsafe abortion she had in 1963 when the practice was illegal in France, she says in her book “Happening”:

“There were thousands of people who had had secret abortions, I wanted to recreate the truth exactly as it was at the time. In 1963, when it happened to me, it was unthinkable to imagine that one day abortion would be authorized, the doctors would not even say a word.

Ernaux follows the line of another French writer, Patrick Modiano, who received the Nobel Prize in 2014. She is the 16th French author to win the coveted literature prize.

Ernaux has more than 20 books to his credit. His notable works include: Les armoires vides (1974), published in French and English under the titles Cleaned Out, Una Donna, Happening and La Place (A Man’s Place). The literature professor at the Center national d’enseignement par correspondence has won several literary prizes and been nominated for others such as the Prix Renaudot (2008) for her autobiography, The Years, which was also shortlisted for the Man Booker International Award 2019.

In addition to being shortlisted for the international Man Booker Prize for many years, Ernaux’s book, “Una Donna”, received the 2019 Premio Gregor von Rezzori.

Others who came close to winning the 2022 Nobel Prize for Literature include the author of the controversial novel “Satanic Verses”, Indian-American Salman Rushdie; Kenyan James Ngugi Wa Thiong’o; Japanese Haruki Murakami; Norwegian Jon Fosse and Jamaica Kincaid, born in Antigua. Had the 75-year-old Rushdie won, he would have been the second Indian to do so since 1913 when he was won by Rabindranath Tagore with the entry, Gitanjali.


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