Source: News Bharati English08 Oct 2015 16:44:28

Stockholm, October 8: The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2015 is awarded to the Belarusian author Svetlana Alexievich for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time. 67 years old Svetlana Alexievich is the 14th women Literature Laureate Nobel Prize 2015.


The daughter of a Belarusian father and a Ukrainian mother, Svetlana Alexievich was born 31 May 1948 in the Ukrainian town of Ivano-Frankivsk. Alexievich worked as a teacher and as a journalist, and she studied journalism at the University of Minsk between 1967 and 1972.

Svetlana Alexievich’s comment on the 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature was “Fantastic!” when she finally understood who was calling her, says Permanent Secretary Sara Danius.

Speaking by phone to the Swedish broadcaster SVT, Svetlana Alexievich said that the award left her with a “complicated” feeling.

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“It immediately evokes such great names as [Ivan] Bunin, [Boris] Pasternak,” she said, referring to Russian writers who have won the prize. “On the one hand, it’s such a fantastic feeling, but it’s also a bit disturbing.”

According to Sara Danius, the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, Alexeivich is an “extraordinary” writer. “For the past 30 or 40 years she’s been busy mapping the Soviet and post soviet individual,” Danius said.

“But it’s not really about a history of events. It’s a history of emotions – what she’s offering us is really an emotional world, so these historical events she’s covering in her various books, for example the Chernobyl disaster, the Soviet war in Afghanistan, these are in a way just pretexts for exploring the Soviet individual and the post-Soviet individual.”

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“She’s conducted thousands and thousands of interviews with children, with women and with men, and in this way she’s offering us a history of human beings about whom we didn’t know that much ... and at the same time she’s offering us a history of emotions, a history of the soul.”

According to her close friend, the Belarusian opposition leader Andrei Sannikov, Alexeivich writes about “the history of the Red Man”. “She claims he is not gone,” Sannikov said.

“She argues that this man is inside us, inside every Soviet person. Her last book, Second-hand Time, is dedicated to this problem.” Alexeivich is “wonderful at interviewing” he continued.

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“She doesn’t avoid difficult issues or questions. Mostly she writes about human tragedy. She lets it go through her and writes with surgical precision about what’s going on within human nature.”

For many years, she collected materials for her first book U vojnyne ženskoe lico (1985; War’s Unwomanly Face, 1988), which is based on interviews with hundreds of women who participated in the Second World War.

This work is the first in Alexievich’s grand cycle of books, “Voices of Utopia”, where life in the Soviet Union is depicted from the perspective of the individual.

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Important influences on Alexievich’s work are the notes by the nurse and author Sofia Fedorchenko (1888–1959) of soldiers’ experiences in the First World War, and the documentary reports by the Belarusian author Ales Adamovich (1927–1994) from the Second World War.

Because of her criticism of the regime, Alexievich has periodically lived abroad, in Italy, France, Germany, and Sweden, among other places.