Author: Annie Ernaux
Annie Ernaux (born in Lillebonne, Seine-Maritime on 1 September 1940) is a French writer.
She won the Prix Renaudot in 1984 for her book La Place, an autobiographical narrative focusing on her relationship with her father and her experiences growing up in a small town in France, and her subsequent process of moving into adulthood and away from her parents’ place of origin.
As a child, Annie Ernaux lived in Yvetot in Normandy. Very early in her career, she turned away from fiction to concentrate on autobiography. Her work combines historic and individual experiences. She charts her parents’ social progression (La place, La honte), her adolescence (Ce qu’ils disent ou rien), her marriage (La femme gelée), her passionate affair with an eastern European man (“Simple Passion”) her abortion (L’événement), Alzheimer’s disease (Je ne suis pas sortie de ma nuit), the death of her mother (Une femme) and breast cancer (L’usage de la photo). Ernaux also wrote L’écriture comme un couteau (which should be understood as Writing as sharp as a knife) with Frédéric-Yves Jeannet.
Her 2008 historical memoir Les années is considered by many to be her ‘magnum opus’: it was very well received by the French critics. In this book Ernaux writes of herself in the third person (elle) for the first time, providing a vivid look at French society from just after the Second World War until the early 2000s. It is the poignant social history of a woman and of the evolving society she lived in.
Many of her works have been translated into English and published by Seven Stories Press. Ernaux is one of the seven founding authors of the press from which it got its name.