2015 Nobel Prize in Literature
Svetlana Alexievich
"for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time."
  • 8 October 2015 (2015-10-08) (announcement)
  • 10 December 2015
LocationStockholm, Sweden
Presented bySwedish Academy
First awarded1901
WebsiteOfficial website
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The 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to the Belarusian journalist Svetlana Alexievich (born 1948) "for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time".[1][2] She described as the first journalist and the first Belerusian national to receive the Nobel prize since December 10, 2015.[3]


Main article: Svetlana Alexievich

Alexievich depicts life during and after the Soviet Union through the experience of individuals. In her books, she uses interviews to create a collage of a wide range of voices. With her "documentary novels", Alexievich, who is a journalist, moves in the boundary between reporting and fiction. Her major works includes the Chernobylskaya molitva ("Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster", 1997) and U voyny ne zhenskoe litso ("The Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of Women in World War II", 1985). Her books criticize political regimes in both the Soviet Union and later Belarus as in Vremya sekond khend ("Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets", 2013).[4][5]

"Documentary Literature"

Alexievich herself rejects the notion that she is a journalist, and, in fact, Alexievich's chosen genre is sometimes called "documentary literature": an artistic rendering of real events, with a degree of poetic license.[6] In her own words:

"I've been searching for a literary method that would allow the closest possible approximation to real life. Reality has always attracted me like a magnet, it tortured and hypnotized me, I wanted to capture it on paper. So I immediately appropriated this genre of actual human voices and confessions, witness evidences and documents. This is how I hear and see the world – as a chorus of individual voices and a collage of everyday details. This is how my eye and ear function. In this way all my mental and emotional potential is realized to the full. In this way I can be simultaneously a writer, reporter, sociologist, psychologist and preacher."

Nobel lecture and award ceremony

Alexievich delivered a Nobel lecture on December 7, 2015 entitled On the Battle Lost, which was originally in Russian. In her lecture, she depicted life during and after the Soviet Union through the various experience of individuals based on interviews and creating them into collages of memories.[7]

Sara Danius, in the presentation of the award, said:

"Alexievich uncovers the face of evil in a truth process where 'heat incinerates the lies' and in language that, between the lines, conveys the silence of pain. She waits until the voices lodge in her, acquiring a harder sheen. This makes her the most sensitive of contemporary historians and a genre innovator."[8]



  1. ^ The Nobel Prize in Literature 2015 nobelprize.org
  2. ^ Svetlana Alexievich wins Nobel Literature prize Archived 2018-06-21 at the Wayback Machine, by BBC
  3. ^ Alison Flood, Luke Harding and agencies (8 October 2015). "Svetlana Alexievich wins 2015 Nobel prize in literature". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  4. ^ Svetlana Alexievich – Facts nobelprize.org
  5. ^ Svetlana Alexievich britannica.org
  6. ^ Pinkham, Sophie (29 August 2016). "Witness Tampering". The New Republic. Archived from the original on 30 August 2016. Retrieved 30 August 2016.
  7. ^ Nobel lecture 2015 nobelprize.org
  8. ^ Ceremony speech nobelprize.org