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Svetlana alexievich

The meaning of «svetlana alexievich»

Svetlana Alexandrovna Alexievich[1] (born 31 May 1948) is a 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".[2][3][4][5] She is the first writer from Belarus to receive the award.[6][7]

Born in the west Ukrainian town of Stanislav (Ivano-Frankivsk since 1962) to a Belarusian father and a Ukrainian mother,[8] Svetlana Alexievich grew up in Belarus. After graduating from high school she worked as a reporter in several local newspapers. In 1972 she graduated from Belarusian State University and became a correspondent for the literary magazine Nyoman in Minsk (1976).[9]

During her career in journalism, Alexievich specialized in crafting narratives based on witness testimonies. In the process, she wrote artfully constructed oral histories[10] of several dramatic events in Soviet history: the Second World War,[11] Afghan War,[12] dissolution of the Soviet Union,[11] and the Chernobyl disaster.[11][13]

In 1989 Alexievich's book Zinky Boys about the fallen soldiers, who had returned in zinc coffins from the Soviet-Afghan War of 1979 – 1985, was the subject of controversy, and she was accused of "defamation" and "desecration of the soldiers’ honor". Alexievich was tried a number of times between 1992 and 1996. After political persecution by the Lukashenko administration,[14] she left Belarus in 2000.[15] 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.[16][17]

Alexievich's books trace the emotional history of the Soviet and post-Soviet individual through carefully constructed collages of interviews.[18] 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.[19] Belarusian poet Uladzimir Nyaklyayew called Adamovich "her literary godfather". He also named the documentary novel I'm From Fire Village (Belarusian: 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.[20] Alexievich has confirmed the influence of Adamovich and Belarusian writer Vasil Bykaŭ, among others.[21] She regards Varlam Shalamov as the best writer of the 20th century.[22]

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)[23] and an oral history of the Chernobyl disaster (Chernobyl Prayer / Voices from Chernobyl).[24] Alexievich describes the theme of her works this way:

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