Erno’s work often deals with questions of personal history. Her memoir “Happening” discusses the illegal abortion she had in the 1960s. A 2018 translation of her memoir The Years was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. This year, a translation of Erno’s book Lost, a diary of her relationship with a younger married man, was published.
Born in 1940 in Normandy, Erno is the daughter of working-class parents. Published her first book, Cleaned Out, a fictional account of her miscarriage, in 1974, she has two sons and lives in Cergy, in the northwestern suburbs of Paris. She has received several literary prizes in the French language, including the Prix Renaudot.
In 1996, author Linda Barrett Osborne wrote: “Annie Erno’s work can elicit the same response that some modern art evokes in viewers: the tendency to think that, because it seemed simple or direct in composition, it was easy to imagine, that anyone could creating the same forms and impressions. Instead, Erno has, at its best, the ability to refine ordinary experience, stripping it of indifference and digression, and reducing it to a kind of iconoclasticity of the spirit of the late twentieth century.”
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In “I’m Left in the Dark,” Erno shows her mother’s deterioration from Alzheimer’s disease. Released in English in 2000, and translated by Tanya Leslie, the book “brilliantly details, with all the unconscious acuity of actual existence, the misery and interdependence, frustration and boredom, and the toxic mixture of devotion and disgust that characterizes it. So many of us are the long process of losing an elderly parent,” according to For a review in the Washington Post.
Yale University Press is scheduled to publish a translation of Erno’s “Look into the Lights, My Love” in the fall of 2023. “As a huge fan of Annie Erno’s extraordinary work, I am particularly pleased,” Yale University Press Director John Donatich said in a statement. To see her receive such universal recognition. Her fiction is a profound achievement, and she deserves in all the richness of the broad readers that this award will attract. These many readers are on the cusp of a remarkable discovery.”
Erno’s work has also been adapted into the film. “Happening” directed by Audrey Dewan, won the Golden Lion at the 2021 Venice International Film Festival, and “Simple Passion” for 2020 was the choice of the Cannes Film Festival. Erno and her son David Erno-Preot have directed “The Super 8 Years,” a 60-minute feature film composed of old home movies that is due to screen at the New York Film Festival next week.
The New Republic recently described Erno as a “perpetual contestant” for the Nobel Prize that “never goes too far” but suggested that when selected, the Academy might “make a tentative statement on reproductive rights,” especially given her work on “Happening.” Asked by the audience whether the choice was a political one, Academy representative Eileen Mattson said, “We focus on literature and literary quality” before adding, “The message is that this is literature for all.”
The Nobel Prize for Literature is awarded annually by the 18-member Swedish Academy. The entire body of the author’s works is usually recognized, although the Academy has selected individual works for winners on nine occasions. This year’s award is worth about $913,000.
The Nobel Prize has been awarded to three scientists for their work in click chemistry, which links molecules quickly
Nominations for the Literature Prize, which is kept secret for 50 years, may be submitted by members of the Academy and its counterpart institutions, professors of literature and linguistics, past laureates of the prize, and presidents of national literary societies. A smaller committee narrowed this list twice, eventually providing the Academy with five candidates each year. After reviewing and discussing the work of the nominees on that list, the Academy selects a winner in October.
Last year’s award went to Abdul Razzaq Jarna, a Tanzanian-born novelist who writes primarily in English. He was awarded the prize “for his uncompromising and passionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of a refugee in the divide between cultures and continents”.
In response to a question for the audience in this year’s announcement about the Nobel Prize’s general focus on European writers, Mattson said, “We have many different criteria, and you can’t satisfy them all.” She emphasized once again that literary quality is the most important to the committee, and continued: “Last year, we gave the award to a non-European writer, last year, Abdel-Razzaq Qurna. This year, we present the award to a woman.” Erno is the 17th woman to win the award.
The 2022 Awards Ceremony will take place on December 10 in Stockholm.
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