The Nobel committee has awarded Svetlana Alexievich “for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time”. Svetlana is known for her expansive oral history writings that document the breakdown of the Soviet Union.
Sara Danius, the permanent secretary to the academy explained that “For the past 30 or 40 years she’s been busy mapping the Soviet and post soviet individual,” and additionally, “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.” and “She’s devised a new kind of literary genre. It’s a true achievement not only in material but also in form.”
In the book, “Voices from Chernobyl“, Alexievich talks to hundreds of people affected in different ways by the Chernobyl nuclear accident. Another highly acclaimed book by Alexievich is “War’s Unwomanly Face” (1988), based on interviews with hundreds of women who took part in World War II.