Annie Thérèse Blanche Ernaux is a French writer, professor of literature, and Nobel laureate who was born in Lillebonne, Normandy. She is known for her autobiographical fictions that address significant sociological concepts.
Ernaux attended the private Catholic secondary school in Yvetot, where her parents used to run a café and a grocery shop. Confronting classmates with middle-class backgrounds made her aware of the social disparity that existed and according to her younger self the indignity of coming from a working class family.
Her first book, Cleaned Out, was published in 1974, when she was married with two children and teaching in a secondary school. The book was a fictionalized account of the illegal abortion she had in 1964. She’s received acclaim and recognition, winning many awards, among which are the French language prize and the Marguerite Yourcenar prize. In 2011, she was the first woman to have her work published in the Quarto edition by Gallimard. Ernaux was also awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Cergy-Pontoise in 2014
In 2022, the 82-year-old won the Nobel Prize in Literature “for the courage and clinical acuity with which she uncovers the roots, estrangements and collective restraints of personal memory,” as stated by the Norwegian Nobel Committee.