Annie Ernaux wins Nobel Prize in Literature for deeply personal accounts of gender and class

Novels by Annie Ernaux
Novels by Annie Ernaux JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP via Getty Images
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The Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded Thursday to French author Annie Ernaux for her deeply personal books that speak candidly on incidents from her own life highlighting class and gender. She's only the 17th woman to win the prize since its creation in 1901.

The 82-year-old author has a number of notable books, many of which are autobiographical; however, the novel that brought her to prominence was her fourth work, La place, or A Man's Place, CNN reports. The short, 100-page novel is about her father and the society that created him.

Ernaux wrote her first book, Cleaned Out, in secret. It's an account of her youth that includes her experience with abortion when it was illegal in France, The New York Times reports. The common thread in her work is that it is heavily inspired by her experience, and reflects on essential themes like family, class, gender, and politics.

Ernaux work's has been otherwise acclaimed for decades. Her novel The Years, which ties events from over 70 years of her life with French history, was in 2019 shortlisted for the Booker International Prize, a prestigious award for a work translated into English, the Times adds.

The Nobel committee awarded Ernaux "for the courage and clinical acuity with which she uncovers the roots, estrangements, and collective restraints of personal memory."

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