French author Annie Ernaux has been awarded the 2022 Nobel Prize in Literature “for the courage and clinical acuity with which she uncovers the roots, estrangements and collective restraints of personal memory,” the Swedish Academy announced on Thursday.
A writer who focuses largely on autobiographical works, her first published work was “Les Amoires vides” (Cleaned Out).
In announcing the award, the academy noted the “universal consequence of her work that can reach everyone.”
Academy secretary Mats Malm said he had not been able to reach Ernaux by phone before making the announcement.
The French author, who writes non-fiction as well as novels turning on everyday life, was chosen from a list of 233 candidates – the names on this longlist are kept secret. She was the bookmakers’ favourite to take the prize last year.
Reviewing Ernaux’s “Se perdre” (Getting Lost) for Britain’s Guardian newspaper last month, the critic said the book would “become a kind of totem for lovers: a manual to help them find their centre when, like Ernaux, they are lost in love.”
Last year the prize went to the relatively unkown Tanzanian author Abdulrazak Gurnah “for his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fates of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents,” in the words of the academy.
Louise Glück, who was US Poet Laureate in 2003 to 2004, received the 2020 prize.