Annie Ernaux

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Annie Ernaux

Annie Ernaux (born in Lillebonne, Seine-Maritime on 1 September 1940) is a French writer.[1]

She won the Prix Renaudot in 1984[2] for her book La Place (A Man's 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.[3][4]

As a child, Annie Ernaux lived in Yvetot in Normandy,[5] where her parents ran a café-grocery store.[6] Very early in her career, she turned away from fiction to concentrate on autobiography.[7] 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).[5] Ernaux also wrote L'écriture comme un couteau (which should be understood as Writing as sharp as a knife) with Frédéric-Yves Jeannet.[5]

A Woman's Story, A Man's Place, and Simple Passion were recognized as The New York Times Notable Books, and A Woman's Story was a Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Shame was named a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 1998, I Remain in Darkness a Top Memoir of 1999 by The Washington Post, and The Possession was listed as a Top Ten Book of 2008 by More Magazine.

Her 2008 historical memoir Les Années (The Years) is considered by many to be her 'magnum opus', and it was very well received by French critics.[8] 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.[9] It is the poignant social history of a woman and of the evolving society she lived in. The Years won the 2008 Françoise-Mauriac Prize of the Académie française, the 2008 Marguerite Duras Prize, the 2008 French Language Prize, the 2009 Télégramme Readers Prize, and the 2016 Premio Strega Europeo Prize. Translated by Alison L. Strayer, The Years was a Finalist for the 31st Annual French-American Foundation Translation Prize. In 2018 she won the Premio Hemingway.

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.


  • Les Armoires vides, Paris, Gallimard, 1974; Gallimard, 1984, ISBN 978-2-07-037600-1
  • Ce qu'ils disent ou rien, Paris, Gallimard, 1977; French & European Publications, Incorporated, 1989, ISBN 978-0-7859-2655-9
  • La Femme gelée, Paris, Gallimard, 1981; French & European Publications, Incorporated, 1987, ISBN 978-0-7859-2535-4
  • La Place, Paris, Gallimard, 1983; Distribooks Inc, 1992, ISBN 978-2-07-037722-0
  • Une Femme, Paris, Gallimard, 1989
  • Passion simple, Paris, Gallimard, 1991; Gallimard, 1993, ISBN 978-2-07-038840-0
  • Journal du dehors, Paris, Gallimard, 1993
  • La Honte, Paris, Gallimard, 1997[10]
  • Je ne suis pas sortie de ma nuit, Paris, Gallimard, 1997
  • La Vie extérieure : 1993-1999, Paris, Gallimard, 2000
  • L'Événement, Paris, Gallimard, 2000, ISBN 978-2-07-075801-2
  • Se perdre, Paris, Gallimard, 2001
  • L'Occupation, Paris, Gallimard, 2002
  • L'Usage de la photo, with Marc Marie, Paris, Gallimard, 2005
  • Les Années, Paris, Gallimard, 2008, ISBN 978-2-07-077922-2 [11]
  • L'Autre fille, Paris, Nil, 2011 ISBN 978-2-84111-539-6
  • L'Atelier noir, Paris, éd. des Busclats, 2011
  • Écrire la vie, Paris, Gallimard, 2011.
  • Retour à Yvetot, éditions du Mauconduit, 2013.
  • Regarde les lumières mon amour, Raconter la vie, 2014.
  • Mémoire de fille, Gallimard, 2016.


  1. ^ "Annie Ernaux". EVENE (in French). Archived from the original on 1 November 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-31.
  2. ^ "Tous les lauréats du Prix Renaudot" (in French). Archived from the original on 28 November 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-31.
  3. ^ Ferniot, Christine (2005-11-01). "1983 : La place par Annie Ernaux". L'EXPRESS (in French). Archived from the original on 29 October 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-31.
  4. ^ Schwartz, Christine (1992-05-24). "The Prodigal Daughter". Newsday. Long Island, N.Y. p. 35. Retrieved 2010-10-31. (Paywall))
  5. ^ a b c "People / Personnalités / Annie Ernaux". Elle (in French). 2009-05-06. Retrieved 2010-10-31.
  6. ^ Ulin, David L. (18 January 2018). "Annie Ernaux caps a remarkable stretch of unorthodox memoirs with 'The Years'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  7. ^ "Annie Ernaux. Les Années". Le Télégramme (in French). 2009-05-03. Retrieved 2010-10-31.
  8. ^ Peras, Delphine (2010-02-11). "Les Années par Annie Ernaux". L'EXPRESS (in French). Archived from the original on 29 October 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-31.
  9. ^ Laurin, Danielle (2008-04-03). "Autobiographie : Les années: le livre d'une vie" (in French). Radio-Canada. Retrieved 2010-10-31.
  10. ^ Tison, Jean-Pierre (1997-02-01). "Critique: Annie dans l'arrière-boutique". L'EXPRESS (in French). Archived from the original on 29 October 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-31.
  11. ^ Massoutre, Guylaine (2008-04-19). "Littérature française - La chronique douce-amère d'Annie Ernaux". Le Devoir (in French). Retrieved 2010-10-31.

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