Ms. Alexievich’s last book — Second Hand Time — was simultaneously released in many countries

Her major day

 Ms. Alexievich’s last book — Second Hand Time — was simultaneously released in many countries. Some time earlier, this documentary novel was named the highlight at the Frankfurt Book Fair: the most influential in the literary world. Her books narrate the post-Soviet generation’s painful crisis of consciousness, affecting pride and honour, and historical injustice, our ability to forgive, and the psychology of victims and those who bring death.

The ‘fight’ for a Nobel Award saw the meeting of worthy rivals. According to bookmakers, first place should have gone to Kenya’s writer and playwright Ngugi was Thiong, with second place to extremely popular Japanese writer Haruki Murakami. The top of the list was also occupied by American prose writer Joyce Carol Oates, Norwegian playwright and prose writer Jon Fosse, and American Philip Roth.

Ms. Alexievich’s first press conference as a Nobel Prize holder gathered many reporters in Minsk, from various editions and countries. She named Vasil Bykov and Ales Adamovich as her inspiration, noting, “I’d like Belarusians to be proud of this award, as it belongs not only to me but to my characters, my parents and my grandfather, who studied alongside Yakub Kolas. It is the accumulation of humanitarianism. It’s not a personal achievement, but it’s great that it’s happened this way.”

Speaking of her attitude to this raving success, Svetlana notes that she isn’t affected by public matters, believing that what occurs inside us is more important. The awards ceremony for Nobel Prize winners will take place on December 10th: the day when the award’s founder, Swedish businessman and inventor Alfred Nobel, died.

Truly, Svetlana has been working for inner freedom. She isn’t a ‘state figure’, being rather an artist pondering modern global problems of life and death. She isn’t afraid of speaking or writing her mind and, as a result, regularly draws fire upon herself, inspiring negativity from those who aren’t members of the literary circle. Their reaction may derive from envy. However, as Belarusian writer Vladimir Korotkevich once said, lightning only strikes tall trees.

“Nobody likes to hear the truth,” Svetlana often remarks. Some view her as not fully Belarusian, as she writes in Russian. Not long ago, she was displeased by a ‘patriotic’ literary club, which viewed her as disloyal to the ideas of the ‘Russian world’. Much idle talk has been heard but, eventually, art won out. Her Nobel Prize sets the record straight. I personally consider Svetlana Alexievich to be a Belarusian writer. Owing to her, our literature, culture and country have gained incredible recognition. At present, we are witnessing an historical event. Probably, one day, some other Belarusian writers will receive Nobel Prize awards, but Svetlana is the first: it’ll be remembered forever.

By Lyudmila Rublevskaya

President congratulates Svetlana Alexievich

To Nobel Prize winner,
Alexievich Svetlana Alexandrovna

Dear Svetlana Alexandrovna!

Accept my wishes on being awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Your creative work has touched Belarusians and readers all over the world.

I am sincerely glad for you. I strongly hope that this prize will serve the Belarusian state and the nation. I wish you health, happiness and new creative achievements for the benefit of native Belarus .

President of the Republic of Belarus,

October 8, 2015
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