The 2022 Nobel Prize in Literature has been given to the French author Annie Ernaux. The works of the 82-year-old author are renowned for blurring the boundaries between memoir and fiction.
The committee remarked in its release that she “uncovers the roots, estrangements, and collective restrictions of personal memory with clinical precision.” During his remarks, the permanent secretary also mentioned that they had been unable to get in touch with Ernaux to inform her of the prize, which was valued about $900,000.
In 1940, Ernaux was born in France. In 1974, she published her debut book, Cleaned Out, an autobiographical novel about getting an abortion while it was still prohibited in France. She worked covertly on the book. In 2020, she told the New York Times, “After my first draft, my spouse had made fun of me.” To get some alone time, “I claimed to work on a Ph.D. thesis.”
In 1990, the book was translated into English.
When the award was announced, Anders Olsson, the head of the Nobel committee for literature, was questioned about whether it was politically motivated to honor someone who had written so passionately against abortion. Olsson disagreed, stating that the committee was more concerned with the value of books. That said, “it’s very important for us also, that the laureate has universal consequence in her work. That it can reach everyone.”