Alexievich in 2013
Святлана Аляксандраўна Алексіевіч, Sviatlana Aliaksandraŭna Alieksijevič in the Belarusian Latin alphabet
|Born||Svetlana Alexandrovna Alexievich|
31 May 1948
Stanislav, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union
|Occupation||Journalist, oral historian|
|Alma mater||Belarusian State University|
|Notable awards|| Nobel Prize in Literature (2015)|
Order of the Badge of Honour (1984)
Peace Prize of the German Book Trade (2013)
Prix Médicis (2013)
Svetlana Alexandrovna Alexievich(born 31 May 1948) is an Ukrainian-born Belarusian investigative journalist, essayist and oral historian who writes in Russian. She was awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature "for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time". She is the first writer from Belarus to receive the award.
The Nobel Prize in Literature is a Swedish literature prize that is awarded annually, since 1901, to an author from any country who has, in the words of the will of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, produced "in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction". Though individual works are sometimes cited as being particularly noteworthy, the award is based on an author's body of work as a whole. The Swedish Academy decides who, if anyone, will receive the prize. The academy announces the name of the laureate in early October. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895. On some occasions the award has been postponed to the following year. It was not awarded in 2018, but two names will be awarded in 2019.
Born in the west Ukrainian town of Stanislav (since 1962 Ivano-Frankivsk) to a Belarusian father and a Ukrainian mother,Svetlana Alexievich grew up in Belarus. After finishing school she worked as a reporter in several local newspapers before graduating from Belarusian State University (1972) and becoming a correspondent for the literary magazine Nyoman in Minsk (1976).
Ivano-Frankivsk is a historic city located in Western Ukraine. It is the administrative centre of Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast. Administratively, it is designated as a city of regional significance within the oblast, and together with a number of rural localities, is incorporated as Ivano-Frankivsk Municipality. Population: 230,929 (2016 est.).
Belarusian State University (BSU) is a university in Minsk, Belarus. It was founded on October 30, 1921.
Minsk is the capital and largest city of Belarus, situated on the Svislač and the Nyamiha Rivers. As the national capital, Minsk has a special administrative status in Belarus and is the administrative centre of Minsk Region (voblasć) and Minsk District (rajon). The population in January 2018 was 1,982,444, making Minsk the 11th most populous city in Europe. Minsk is the administrative capital of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and seat of its Executive Secretary.
During her career in journalism, Alexievich specialised in crafting narratives based on witness testimonies. In the process, she wrote oral histories of several dramatic events in Soviet history: the Second World War,the Afghan War, the fall of the Soviet Union, and the Chernobyl disaster. After political persecution by the Lukashenko administration, she left Belarus in 2000. The International Cities of Refuge Network offered her sanctuary and during the following decade she lived in Paris, Gothenburg and Berlin. In 2011, Alexievich moved back to Minsk.
The Soviet–Afghan War lasted over nine years, from December 1979 to February 1989. Insurgent groups known collectively as the mujahideen, as well as smaller Maoist groups, fought a guerrilla war against the Soviet Army and the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan government, mostly in the rural countryside. The mujahideen groups were backed primarily by the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan, making it a Cold War proxy war. Between 562,000 and 2,000,000 civilians were killed and millions of Afghans fled the country as refugees, mostly to Pakistan and Iran.
The Chernobyl disaster was a catastrophic nuclear accident that occurred on 26 April 1986 at the No. 4 nuclear reactor in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, near the city of Pripyat in the north of the Ukrainian SSR.
Alexander Grigoryevich Lukashenko is a Belarusian politician serving as President of Belarus since the office was created on 20 July 1994. Before launching his political career, Lukashenko worked as director of a collective farm (kolkhoz) and spent time with the Soviet Border Troops and the Soviet Army. He was the only deputy to vote against the independence of Belarus from the Soviet Union.
Alexievich's books trace the emotional history of the Soviet and post-Soviet individual through carefully constructed collages of interviews. : Я з вогненнай вёскі) by Ales Adamovich, Janka Bryl and Uladzimir Kalesnik, about the villages burned by the German troops during the occupation of Belarus, as the main single book that has influenced Alexievich's attitude to literature. Alexievich has confirmed the influence of Adamovich and Belarusian writer Vasil Bykaŭ, among others. She regards Varlam Shalamov as the best writer of the 20th century.According to Russian writer and critic Dmitry Bykov, her books owe much to the ideas of Belarusian writer Ales Adamovich, who felt that the best way to describe the horrors of the 20th century was not by creating fiction but through recording the testimonies of witnesses. Belarusian poet Uladzimir Nyaklyayew called Adamovich "her literary godfather". He also named the documentary novel I'm from the Burned Village (Belarusian
The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.
Dmitry Lvovich Bykov is a Russian writer, poet and journalist. He is also known as biographer of Boris Pasternak, Bulat Okudzhava and Maxim Gorky.
Ales Adamovich was a Belarusian Soviet writer and a critic, Professor and Corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences of Belarus, Doctor of Philosophy in philology, Doctorate in 1962 ; member of the Supreme Soviet (1989–92). He wrote in Russian and Belarusian.
Her most notable works in English translation include a collection of first-hand accounts from the war in Afghanistan (Zinky Boys: Soviet Voices from a Forgotten War)and an oral history of the Chernobyl disaster (Chernobyl Prayer / Voices from Chernobyl). Alexievich describes the theme of her works this way:
If you look back at the whole of our history, both Soviet and post-Soviet, it is a huge common grave and a blood bath. An eternal dialog of the executioners and the victims. The accursed Russian questions: what is to be done and who is to blame. The revolution, the gulags, the Second World War, the Soviet–Afghan war hidden from the people, the downfall of the great empire, the downfall of the giant socialist land, the land-utopia, and now a challenge of cosmic dimensions – Chernobyl. This is a challenge for all the living things on earth. Such is our history. And this is the theme of my books, this is my path, my circles of hell, from man to man.
Her first book, War's Unwomanly Face, came out in 1985. It was repeatedly reprinted and sold more than two million copies.The book was finished in 1983 and published (in short edition) in Oktyabr, a Soviet monthly literary magazine, in February 1984. In 1985, the book was published by several publishers, and the number of printed copies reached 2,000,000 in the next five years. This novel is made up of monologues of women in the war speaking about the aspects of World War II that had never been related before. Another book, The Last Witnesses: the Book of Unchildlike Stories, describes personal memories of children during wartime. The war seen through women's and children's eyes revealed a new world of feelings. In 1993, she published Enchanted with Death, a book about attempted and completed suicides due to the downfall of the Soviet Union. Many people felt inseparable from the Communist ideology and unable to accept the new order surely and the newly interpreted history.
Her books were not published by Belarusian state-owned publishing houses after 1993, while private publishers in Belarus have only published two of her books: Chernobyl Prayer in 1999 and Second-hand Time in 2013, both translated into Belarusian.As a result, Alexievich has been better known in the rest of world than in Belarus.
She has been described as the first journalist to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature.She 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.
Alexievich has received many awards, including:
She is a member of the advisory committee of the Lettre Ulysses Award.
Vasíl Uładzímiravič Býkaŭ was a prolific author of novels and novellas about World War II and a significant figure in Belarusian literature and civic thought. His work earned him endorsements for the Nobel Prize nomination from, among others, Nobel Prize laureates Joseph Brodsky and Czesław Miłosz.
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The Belarusian Popular Front "Renaissance" was a social and political movement in Belarus in late 1980s and the 1990s which led Belarus to its independence from the Soviet Union. It was similar to the Popular Fronts of Latvia and Estonia, and the Sąjūdis movement in the Republic of Lithuania.
Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky are a couple who are best known for their collaborative translations. Most of their translations are of works in Russian, but also French, Italian, and Greek. Their translations have been nominated three times and twice won the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize. Their translation of Dostoevsky's The Idiot also won the first Efim Etkind Translation Prize.
Svetlana is a common Orthodox Slavic female name, deriving from the East and South Slavic root свет svet, which translates into English as "light", "shining", "luminescent", "pure", "blessed", or "holy", depending upon context similar if not the same as the word Shwet in Sanskrit. The name was coined by Alexander Vostokov and popularized by Vasily Zhukovsky in his eponymous ballad "Svetlana", first published in 1813. The name is also used in Ukraine, Belarus, Slovakia, and Serbia, with a number of occurrences in non-Slavic countries.
The Soviet–Afghan War had an important impact in popular culture in the West, due to its scope, and the great number of countries involved. The Russian-Ukrainian film The 9th Company, for example, became a blockbuster in the former USSR earning millions of dollars and also representing a new trend in Russia in which some domestic films are "drawing Russian audiences away from Hollywood staples." The use of the war in Russian cinema has attracted scholarly attention as well. Some of this attention focuses on comparisons of the conflict with other modern wars in Vietnam and Iraq. Other work focuses on the war and fictional accounts of it in the context of Soviet military culture. Even when not directly portrayed, service in the war is sometimes used as a backstory for Russian characters to explain their combat prowess, such as in the manga and anime series Black Lagoon.
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Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster is a book about the Chernobyl disaster by the Belarusian Nobel Laureate Svetlana Alexievich. At the time of the disaster, Alexievich was a journalist living in Minsk, the capital of what was then the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic. Alexievich interviewed more than 500 eyewitnesses, including firefighters, liquidators, politicians, physicians, physicists, and ordinary citizens over a period of 10 years. The book relates the psychological and personal tragedy of the Chernobyl accident, and explores the experiences of individuals and how the disaster affected their lives.
Belarusian literature is the writing produced, both prose and poetry, by speakers of the Belarusian language.
Pyotr Ustinovich Brovka was a Soviet Belarusian poet, more commonly recognized by his literary pseudonym Petrus Brovka.
As Allied troops entered and occupied German territory during the later stages of World War II, mass rapes of women took place both in connection with combat operations and during the subsequent occupation. Most Western scholars agree that the majority of the rapes were committed by Soviet servicemen, while some Russian historians maintain that these crimes were not widespread. The wartime rapes had been surrounded by decades of silence. According to Antony Beevor, whose books were banned in 2015 from some Russian schools and colleges, NKVD files have revealed that the leadership knew what was happening, but did little to stop it. Some Russian historians disagree, claiming that the Soviet leadership took some action.
Serhii Plokhii, or Plokhy is a Ukrainian-American historian and author specializing in the history of Ukraine, Eastern Europe and Cold War studies. He is the Mykhailo Hrushevsky professor of Ukrainian history at Harvard University, where he also serves as the director of the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute.
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