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Annie Ernaux, winner of the 2022 Nobel Prize in Literature, is a powerful voice in French feminism

This year’s Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to French author Annie Ernaux.

On Thursday (Oct. 6), the prestigious award went to the unconventional memoirist “for the courage and clinical acuity with which she uncovers the roots, estrangements and collective restraints of personal memory.”

While Ernaux was only recently recently discovered in the English-speaking world, she’s been making waves in her home country for decades. Her first book, Les Armoires Vides (Cleaned Out), published in 1974, was a fictionalised account of her own back-alley abortion in her early 20s that shed light on how working-class women had to resort to clandestine and perilous procedures in France’s judgmental society. Since then, she’s continued to write on controversial topics spanning class, gender, sexuality, race, and more. She returned to the topic of abortion in her 2000 novel L’événement (Happening), which was turned into a film and won the prestigious Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival in 2021.

At the time of the announcement, the Swedish Academy said it couldn’t “reach her on the phone” but said it looked forward to presenting the award to her in Stockholm in December.