Annie Ernaux’s Writing Has Given Dignity to the Lives of the Working Class

Jess Cotton in Jacobin:

Annie Ernaux, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature last Thursday, was not on the other end of the telephone when the committee rang to deliver the news. Last year, she received a prank text telling her she had won the illustrious award, which might be one reason why her first response when the committee did get through to her was incredulous: “Are you sure?”

Unlike Philip Roth who sat on tenterhooks waiting for a call that never came, Ernaux, at eighty-two, was never too fussed about prizes. Certainly she didn’t wait in expectation of them. When she didn’t win the Man Booker International in 2019, she went to see the Dorothea Tanning show at the Tate Modern instead, had lunch with the view of Saint Paul’s Cathedral, and drank in a pub frequented by Amy Winehouse. She preferred her own company to the heavy, uncharming world of prize culture. On receipt of the Nobel, Ernaux, however, recognized the responsibility that came with it: to continue fighting “everything that is a form of injustice against women.”

More here.