Alexievich wins Nobel Prize in Literature

Alexievich wins Nobel Prize in Literature

Belarusian writer Svetlana Alexievich, 67, has won the Nobel Prize in Literature.

The chair of the Swedish Academy, Sara Danius, said her polyphonic writings were "a monument to suffering and courage in our time." 

Alexievich is recognised for her work chronicalling the lives and experiences of her fellow citizens in Belarus, Russia and the Ukraine, documenting events such as the the Chernobyl disaster and the Soviet war in Afghanistan through a human lens.

Danius praised Alexievich for “mapping the Soviet and post-Soviet individual” over the past 30-40 years, through her interviews with countless men, women, and children to provide “a history of a human being we don’t really now that much – and at the same time a history of emotions and a history of the soul”.

Alexievich was born in the West Ukrainian town of Stanislav to a Ukrainian mother and Belarusian father, a soldier at the time. Alexievich's family returned to a village in Belarus when his military service was complete to work as teachers. She attended the Belarusian State University in Minsk to study journalism after starting in 1966 at a local newspaper in Narowl.

Alexievich is the 14th woman to win the prestigious award and was the bookies' favourite over Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami, Kenya’s Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o and the Norwegian playwright Jon Fosse. Last year's winner was French novelist Jean Patrick Modiano.