Belarussian journalist wins Nobel Literature prize

Belarussian journalist wins Nobel Literature prize

Thursday, October 8, 2015 1:10 pm

Svetlana Alexievich

Svetlana Alexievich

Svetlana Alexievich, 67 year-old investigative journalist from Belarus has been awarded this year’s Nobel Prize for Literature, the Swedish Academy announced Thursday.

Alexievich is the first writer from Belarus to win the prize.

Alexievich won “for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time,” according to the citation for the award.

On her personal website, Alexievich explains her pursuit of journalism: “I chose a genre where human voices speak for themselves.” Fittingly, Alexievich prefers to leave the stories to her many interviewees, letting eyewitness accounts shed an unsettling light on tragedies like World War II, the Soviet-Afghan War and the disaster at Chernobyl — an investigation that has been read aloud in excerpts on All Things Considered.

It has been quite a long time since a nonfiction writer won the Nobel. Not since the heady days of Bertrand Russell and Winston Churchill, over half a century ago, has an author won for a career of work primarily in nonfiction. Alexievich’s prize breaks that long dry spell.

Svetlana  is the 108th writer — and 14th woman — to win the prize.

She will receive her medal at a ceremony on Dec. 10.

*With reports by

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