I Will Write To Avenge My People

Annie Ernaux


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Fitzcarraldo Editions
20 June 2023
ISBN: 9781804270707
48 pages

From the publisher

Translated by Alison L. Strayer

‘I will write to avenge my people.’ It was as a young woman that Annie Ernaux first wrote these words in her diary, giving a name to her purpose in life as a writer. She returns to them in her stirring defence of literature and of political writing in her Nobel Lecture, delivered in Stockholm on 7 December 2022. To write of her own life, she asserts, is to ‘shatter the loneliness of experiences endured and repressed’; to mine individual experience is to find collective emancipation. Ernaux’s speech is a bold assertion of the capacity of writing to give people a sense of their own worth, and of one writer’s commitment to bearing witness to life, its joys and its injustices.

‘Ernaux has inherited de Beauvoir’s role of chronicler to a generation.’
— Margaret Drabble, New Statesman

‘Annie Ernaux is one of my favourite contemporary writers, original and true. Always after reading one of her books, I walk around in her world for months.’
— Sheila Heti, author of Motherhood

‘I find her work extraordinary.’
— Eimear McBride, author of A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing

'The author is one of the most important oeuvres in French literature. Annie Ernaux's work is as powerful as it is devastating, as subtle as it is seething.' 
— Édouard Louis, author of The End of Eddy

‘Annie Ernaux writes memoir with such generosity and vulnerable power that I find it difficult to separate my own memories from hers long after I’ve finished reading.’
— Catherine Lacey, author of Pew

'Reading her is like getting to know as freind, the way they tel you about themselves over long conversations that sometimes take years, revelealing things slowly, looping back to some parts of their life over and over.' 
— Joanna Biggs, London Review of Books

‘Her work attests to the ways in which an individual story is linked to shared histories and her documentation of personal oppression is part of a struggle for collective freedom.’
— Jessica Andrews, Elle UK