Nobel Prize for Literature, Annie Ernaux sends a message of hope to "immigrants" and women

Annie Ernaux, won the Nobel Prize for Literature on October 14, this December 10, she will receive her prize with a speech resolutely turned towards her fight as a woman, the revenge of her “race”, she who was not predestined to to be a writer because of his social background. Here are some excerpts from his speech, a real message of hope, of freedom, which is addressed to all those who have suffered injustice, to foreigners, to women, to the poor…

At 82 and with a successful career as a writer, the Frenchwoman finally receives this ultimate global award which recognizes her work and her talent. The Nobel Prize awarded by the Swedish Academy has only been awarded to 17 women out of 102 men since its creation in 1895, i.e. for 127 years.

Her speech, which she will deliver on December 10 in Stockholm, looks back on her doubts that accompanied her, these questions of knowing if she had her place and if she was going to succeed in finding the respect of her male peers. “Is this happening to me? she asks herself.

“By granting me the highest literary distinction there is, it is a work of writing and a personal research carried out in solitude and doubt that are placed in a great light. She doesn’t dazzle me. I don’t see the awarding of the Nobel Prize to me as an individual victory,” says Annie, believing that it is in a way a collective victory.

“I share the pride of it with those who, in one way or another, want more freedom, equality and dignity for all humans, regardless of their sex and gender, their skin and their culture. Those who think of the generations to come, of safeguarding an Earth that the appetite for profit of a small number continues to make less and less livable for all populations, “adds the Nobel Prize, stressing that the recognition of her work by the Swedish Academy is a sign of hope for all female writers.

Recalling the doubts that seize the writers in front of the blank page, Annie Ernoux declares to have had this problem, to find the famous sentence, to write this speech. “Today, to face a situation that, past the stupor of the event – ​​“is this really happening to me? – my imagination presents me with growing dread, it is the same necessity that overwhelms me. Find the sentence that will give me the freedom and the firmness to speak without trembling”.

She adds: “This sentence, I do not need to look for it far. She arises. In all its sharpness, its violence. Lapidary. Irrefutable. It was written sixty years ago in my diary. I will write to avenge my race. It echoed Rimbaud’s cry: “I am of an inferior race from all eternity. “*”.

She explains that at the age of 22, then a student in Letters in a provincial faculty, among girls and boys for many from the local bourgeoisie, she thought “proudly and naively that writing books, becoming a writer, at the end of A line of landless peasants, workers and petty merchants, people despised for their manners, their accent, their lack of culture, would suffice to repair the social injustice of birth. That an individual victory erased centuries of domination and poverty, in an illusion that the School had already fostered in me with my academic success”.

In her career as a writer, she reveals that it was not the rejection of a first novel by two or three publishers that curbed her desire and my pride, but it was all those situations in life where “being a woman weighed with all her weight of difference with being a man in a society where roles were defined according to the sexes, contraception prohibited and the termination of pregnancy a crime”.

Talking about her style of writing and her approach, Annie affirms that very quickly too, “to the point of not being able to envisage any other starting point”, she wanted to anchor the story of her “social tear in the situation which had was mine when I was a student, the revolting one to which the French State always condemned women, the recourse to clandestine abortion in the hands of an angel maker. And I wanted to describe everything that happened to my body as a girl”.

She explains, however, that for her it is not a question of telling the story of her life or of freeing herself from her secrets, but of deciphering a lived situation, an event, a love relationship, and “thus revealing something that only writing can make exist and pass, perhaps, into other consciousnesses, other memories. Who could say that love, pain and mourning, shame, are not universal? “.

Her commitment to writing, which is also political in a certain way, did not “consist of writing “for” a category of readers, but “from” her “experience as a woman and an immigrant from the interior” , since my memory now longer and longer over the years, since the present, constantly providing images and words from others”.

This commitment, she continues, is like a “pledge of myself in writing is supported by the belief, which has become certainty, that a book can contribute to changing personal life, to breaking the loneliness of things suffered and buried, to think differently. When the unspeakable comes to light, it is political”.

“Writing in a democratic country, I continue to wonder, however, about the place occupied by women in the literary field. Their legitimacy to produce works is not yet acquired”, she said, after recalling the revolt of these women in Iran “who found the words to upset male power and rose up”.

The legitimacy to produce works is not yet acquired for women, she explains. “There are men in the world, including in Western intellectual spheres, for whom books written by women simply do not exist, they never cite them.”

Previous Post Next Post