Belarusian writer and journalist Svetlana Alexievich has won the 2015 Nobel Prize for literature.
Announcing the prize in Stockholm, the chair of the Swedish Academy, Sara Danius, called her writing “a monument to courage and suffering in our time”.
The award, presented to a living writer, is worth 8m kronor (£691,000).
Previous winners include literary heavyweights Rudyard Kipling and Ernest Hemingway. French historical author Patrick Modiano won in 2014.
It has been half a century since a writer working primarily in non-fiction won the Nobel – and Alexievich is the first journalist to win the award.
Her best-known works in English translation include Voices From Chernobyl, an oral history of the 1986 nuclear catastrophe; and Boys In Zinc, a collection of first-hand accounts from the Soviet-Afghan war. The title refers to the zinc coffins in which the dead came home.
The book caused controversy and outrage when it was first published in Russia, where reviewers called it a “slanderous piece of fantasy” and part of a “hysterical chorus of malign attacks”.
Alexievich has also been critical of her home country’s government, leading to a period of persecution – in which her telephone was bugged and she was banned from making public appearances.
She spent 10 years in exile from 2000, living in Italy, France, Germany and Sweden, among other places, before moving back to Minsk.


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