Magnus Eriksson

Literary scholar on Nobel laureate Annie Ernaux: crystal-clear language

Magnus Eriksson is senior lecturer in creative writing at Linnaeus University and has a background as a critic and literary scholar. He has reviewed books by Annie Ernaux and means that it is a well-earned award.

What is your reaction to the fact that Annie Ernaux was awarded the literature prize?

“I felt somewhat relieved. It’s an award that no one can question, which can be beneficial considering the commotion linked to some of the prizes during the last few years. On the whole, the Swedish Academy does excellent work with a thorough selection process, and Annie Ernaux is yet another author in a row of solid and not particularly sensational recipients”, says Eriksson.

Is the prize well-deserved?

“Yes, definitely. Not the most obvious choice, but undoubtedly she would be on the Swedish Academy’s list of potential Nobel laureates”, Eriksson continues.

Why should people read Anni Ernaux?

“Perhaps primarily because her language is crystal-clear, where the seemingly objective also comprises strong empathy, as she portrays experiences as a woman and of French class society. These experiences are representative, but she does not shy away from what is tabooed in relation to sexuality and feelings”, Eriksson explains.

Top list: Eriksson lists the best books by Annie Ernaux

– Three novels well worth reading, with no order of preference:

  • A Woman’s Story, 1987
  • Shame, 1997
  • A Girl’s Story, 2016

Was it expected that she would get the prize?

“I might not have guessed it had you asked me yesterday. There has been a lot of buzz around here during the last 24 hours. This can mean two things, either the buzz has generated itself (if someone mentions a name and it is repeated by several others it leads to people thinking it is a strong candidate, even though the Swedish Academy may not have discussed that name at all), or there has been a leak; my guess is on the former", Eriksson concludes.