Annie Ernaux, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2022, has dedicated her writing to the preservation of specific moments in time—some long, some brief— which at one point were all that mattered. She illuminates the impermanence of even our most intense experiences. She transparently and eloquently recounts these moments in her life, as well as her parents’ lives, as a means of remembering them, simultaneously giving insight into the ways that one person’s life interacts with so many others and acknowledging the fact that moments that feel never-ending always do end.
A strong feminist voice from the beginning, her books center around the working-class woman’s experience in words and phrases that challenge, or perhaps simply ignore, the stigmas and taboos that so often cling to femininity and class. Illegal abortion, shame, passion, motherhood, and death are all present in Ernaux’s work, and all are given the space to be complex, confusing, and unavoidably, profoundly emotional.
Before the Nobel announcement there was already a surge in interest since 2018 when we released her masterpiece, The Years, that describes the sweeping history that brought us into the 21st century. The Nobel joined this wave rather than initiating it. It really is an honor to have been involved, in any capacity, with bringing such a remarkable body of work into the world.
We have created this reading guide with the hope that it will inspire many discussions and that the four questions allotted to each book we publish will generate many more.
—Seven Stories Press
Download the guides here