Belarusian writer and journalist Svetlana Alexievich has won the 2015 Nobel Prize for literature.
Alexievich, 67, is a political writer who is critical of her home country’s government. She is the first journalist to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.
The prize committee called her writing “a monument to courage and suffering in our time”. The award – presented to a living writer – is worth eight million kronor (691,000 British pounds)
Announcing the prize in Stockholm, the chair of the Swedish Academy, Sara Danius, said her work was a “monument to suffering and courage in our time”.
She added, “It has been half a century since a writer working primarily in non-fiction won the Nobel – and Alexievich is the first journalist to win the award.”
Alexievich’s best-known works in English translation include Voices From Chernobyl, an oral history of the nuclear catastrophe; and Boys In Zink, a collection of first-hand accounts from the Soviet-Afghan war.
On her personal website, Alexievich explains her pursuit of journalism saying, “I chose a genre where human voices speak for themselves.” She has previously won the Swedish PEN prize for her “courage and dignity as a writer”.
Alexievich was the bookies’ favourite to win the award, according to Ladbrokes. She beat other hot favourites Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami and Kenyan novelist Ngugi Wa Thiong’o.
She is the 14th woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in its history. A total of 112 individuals have won it between 1901 and 2015.
Previous winners include literary giants Rudyard Kipling and Ernest Hemingway and French historical author Patrick Modiano who won in 2015.