Nobel Prize winner champions stories of humanity

Personal historians are buzzing about Svetlana Alexievich, the woman who won the Nobel Prize for literature last week.

She’s a journalist and oral historian from Belarussia who writes nonfiction works weaving together individual stories about difficult topics like female Russian soldiers in World War II and the aftermath of Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Some of her titles include “War’s Unwomanly Face,” “Voices of Utopia” and “Voices From Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster.”

Like a personal historian who collects stories from non-celebrities to create narratives, Alexievich draws on feelings and perspectives, rather than just dry facts. Her work amounts to “a history of emotions — a history of the soul, if you wish,” said Sara Danius, permanent secretary of the Nobel committee.

Read more here about what personal historians have to say about the selection.

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