Tuesday, February 27

The Belarusian journalist and writer Svetlana Alexievich, Catalunya International Prize winner

The Belarusian journalist and writer Svetlana Alexievich, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2015, has been awarded the XXXIV International Catalonia Prize awarded by the Government. The award was announced this Tuesday afternoon by the president, Pere Aragonès, reports the Agència Catalana de Notícies (ACN).

Born on May 31, 1948 to a Belarusian father and a Ukrainian mother, she studied journalism at the University of Minsk. After working as a journalist in different media, she began to opt for literature, immersed in the current of the so-called collective novel. Her first book, ‘War Has No Woman’s Face’, dealt with the issue of Russian women who participated in World War II.

Four years after that first novel, he published ‘Zinc Coffins’ (1989), in which he collected witnesses from the mothers of Soviet soldiers who participated in the war in Afghanistan. In other books she has offered the vision of those who could not bear the fall of the Soviet government and committed suicide or the heroism and suffering of those who sacrificed themselves to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. ‘Voices from Chernobyl’ (1997) has been translated into 20 languages, and is still banned in Belarus today.

Facing the Belarusian government and censorship, Alexievich left Belarus in 2000. In 2011, she returned to Minsk. In 2015 she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, the first non-fiction writer to receive this award in more than half a century.

In 2020, after having publicly asked the Belarusian president, Alexander Lukashenko, to leave the government, he returned to exile with the help of diplomats from different countries. Since then he lives in Berlin.

In 1989, the Generalitat created the Catalunya International Award to recognize and encourage creators, offer Catalans examples of the highest quality and demand in all aspects, and place the country on the scene of major international awards.

The prize, endowed with 80,000 euros and the sculpture ‘The Key and the Letter’ by Antoni Tàpies, is awarded annually to people who have made a decisive contribution to developing cultural, scientific or human values. In recent editions, the philosopher Judith Butler (2021), the doctors Dania El Mazloum and Anxhela Gradeci, the nurse Tijana Postic and the doctor and researcher Özlem Türeci (2020) have been recognized.