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Belarusian Svetlana Alexievich wins Nobel

Belarussian author Svetlana Alexievich has won the Nobel Prize for Literature for her portrayal of life in the former Soviet Union which the Swedish Academy said was “a monument to suffering and courage in our time”.

Alexievich’s work includes chronicles of the lives of Soviet women during the Second World War as well as of the consequences of the 1986 nuclear disaster in Chernobyl and the Russian war in Afghanistan told from the perspective of ordinary citizens.

She collected hundreds of interviews of people impacted by these tumultuous events, putting them together in works that the academy said were like a “musical composition.”

“By means of her extraordinary method – a carefully composed collage of human voices – Alexievich deepens our comprehension of an entire era,” the academy said on Thursday in awarding the 8 million crown ($972,000) prize.

Alexievich said the prize would enable her to devote herself to two new writing projects.

“For money I can buy one thing, I buy freedom. I take a very long time to write my books – from five to ten years,” she told Swedish television after the prize announcement.

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