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    Svetlana Alexievich, a Belarussian journalist and prose writer known for deeply researched works about female Russian soldiers in World War II and the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, won the Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday, October 8, 2015, “for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time,” the Swedish Academy announced.

    Ms. Alexievich, 67, is the 14th woman to win the literature prize and one of the first whose work was mainly nonfiction. Sara Danius, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, said she had created “a history of emotions — a history of the soul, if you wish.”

    Ms. Alexievich’s works often blend literature and journalism. She is best known for giving voice to women and men who lived through major events like the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan that lasted from 1979 to 1989, and the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986, in which her own sister was killed and mother blinded.

    “She’s devised a new kind of literary genre,” Ms. Danius said, adding, “It’s a true achievement not only in material but also in form.”

    Perhaps her most acclaimed book is “War’s Unwomanly Face” (1988), based on interviews with hundreds of women who took part in World War II. The book is the first in a series, “Voices of Utopia,” that depicted life in the Soviet Union from the point of view of ordinary citizens.

    “By means of her extraordinary method — a carefully composed collage of human voices — Alexievich deepens our comprehension of an entire era,” the academy said.

    Ms. Alexievich often put herself at risk by taking on contentious elements of Soviet history and challenging the official narrative of how events had an impact on ordinary citizens.

    “She was seen as a traitor, as unpatriotic,” said Gerald Howard, the executive editor at Doubleday, who published Ms. Alexievich’s book “Zinky Boys: Soviet Voices From a Forgotten War” about the occupation of Afghanistan when he was a senior editor at W. W. Norton. “She was vilified all over the place for this book, and she didn’t back down for a second.”

    In the United States, Ms. Alexievich is best known for the oral history “Voices From Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster,” which was translated by the writer Keith Gessen and published in 2005 by Dalkey Archive Press. The book, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award, is a compilation of interviews with survivors of the nuclear reactor accident. She spent 10 years visiting the Chernobyl zone and conducted more than 500 interviews.

    In an interview posted on the Dalkey Archive Press website, Ms. Alexievich said her technique of blending journalism and literature was inspired by the Russian tradition of oral storytelling. “I decided to collect the voices from the street, the material lying about around me,” she said. “Each person offers a text of his or her own.”

    The Nobel Prize in Literature, one of the most prestigious prizes in the literary world, is given in recognition of a writer’s entire body of work rather than a single title. It has been awarded over the years to international literary giants like Gabriel García Márquez, Albert Camus and Toni Morrison, as well as to more obscure authors.

    Over the past decade, the academy has regularly given the prize to European writers who were not widely read in English, including the French novelist J. M. G. Le Clézio (2008), the Romanian-German writer Herta Müller (2009) and the Swedish poet and translator Tomas Transtromer (2011). Many were surprised last year when the award went to Patrick Modiano, a French novelist who is well known in his native country but did not have much of a global following when the prize was announced.




    Very good news. A lot of people are happy for her. :)



    Some of her books are translated in many languages. The books are collection of people’s stories. Svetlana grew up in a village ravaged by war. The stories of people who lived through the war affected her. She wanted to collect stories on how girls and women saw the war. She interviewed more than a thousand of WWII female veterans. Her first book was “War’s Unwomanly Face” written in 1983. It was not published until later due to soviet censorship that required to portray Soviet soldiers and people as heroes. She collected extraordinary stories of girls and women who fought and survived the war. The war brought the best and the worst from people. Some stories are so touching. Books are non-fiction but she uses literary language.

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