Nobels an institution ‘for men’, says French winner

France's Annie Ernauxsaid she wanted to dedicate her Nobel prize for literature 'to all those who suffer from domination in one way or another'

The Nobel Prize is an institution “for men”, literaturelaureate Annie Ernaux of France told AFP on Tuesday in an interview ahead of this weekend’s formal awards ceremony.

“It manifests itself by this desire for tradition. Being bound to traditions is perhaps more masculine, it is a way to transmit power to each other”, the 82-year-old author said.

Honoured by the Swedish Academy for “the courage and clinical acuity” of her work, Ernaux is just the 17th woman awarded the Nobel Literature Prize since it was first handed out in 1901, and the first French woman.

“Speech has almost always been monopolised by men and I have noticed that women are often less verbose in their speeches than men, knowing full well that they are more practical”, she said, adding it was time for the Nobels to modernise.

“It’s hard to say but could we consider less pomp, fewer long gowns and tails? That wouldn’t be bad”, she suggested with a smile, a reference to Saturday’s gala ceremony and banquet attended by the Swedish royal family and more than 1,200 guests.

But since arriving in Stockholm for a week of festivities celebrating this year’s laureates, Ernaux said she had been struck by “the solemnity, the splendour of the prize” and “the scope and the role” that comes with it.

The feminist and activist said she wanted to dedicate her Nobel “to all those who suffer, who suffer from domination in one way or another, from racism, from everything that is a form of inequality. And to all those who struggle and go unrecognised”.

While she “really had no desire to win prizes”, the award had boosted her desire to write, Ernaux said.

She planned to “continue writing” and “enjoy my old age”.

“I think it’s an age where you can reflect on a lot of things and so for me, that means writing them down too, of course”.


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