Svetlana Alexievich Biography, Life, Interesting Facts


Svetlana Alexievich

Birthday :

May 31, 1948

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Birth Place :

Ivano-Frankivsk, Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast, Ukraine

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Ukrainian journalist Svetlana Alexievich is an award-winning writer. Some of her notable works include Zinky Boys: Soviet Voices from the Afghanistan War and Voices from Chernobyl.

Childhood And Early Life

Svetlana Alexievich was born on May 31, 1948, in Stanislaviv, Ukraine. Her father was originally from Belorussia while her mother was from Ukraine. Both parents were educators. From an early age, Svetlana Alexievich was interested in writing.



As a young student, Svetlana Alexievich would write for her interests. Later Svetlana Alexievich contributed some of her poetry as well as feature articles for the school newspaper. In the gap year between high school and university, Alexievich reported for the local Narovl newspaper.

Svetlana Alexievich started at Minsk University in 1967 and graduated with a degree from the Department of Journalism in 1972.



Svetlana Alexievich's next newspaper job came after graduation. Svetlana Alexievich worked in Beresa. The following year Svetlana Alexievich took on the role at the newspaper in Minsk. In 1976, Svetlana Alexievich became a correspondent for Neman literary magazine.

While at the magazine, Svetlana Alexievich earned a promotion as the head of the non-fiction section.SvetlanaAlexievich's writing style demonstrated her experimentation of different genres.Svetlana Alexievich was keen on documenting the experiences, observations, and memories of the people who were at events and dealt with the various circumstances.

Svetlana Alexievich was able to express the human feelings from interviews while documenting the facts. Alexievich wrote her first book The Unwomanly Face of War, but it took years for it to be published. The second book, The Last Witnesses 100 Unchildlike Stories established a new genre of war literature. The 1989 novel Zinky Boys Soviet Voices from the Afghanistan War took the oral histories of the mothers and widows of the soldiers who died in the ten-year war. Her novel Enchanted with Death was adapted for the film The Cross while Voice from Chernobyl was made into a documentary released in Luxembourg.


Later Life

Svetlana Alexievich has been on the advisory committee for the “Lettre Ulysses Award for the Art of Reportage” since 2003.


Personal Life And Legacy

Svetlana Alexievich is considered one of the greatest journalists of the 20th century. The books that she wrote express both the suffering of the people as well as their courage through oral history.


Awards And Achievements

• Order of the Badge of Honor (USSR), 1984
• Oktyabr Magazine Prize, 1984
• Nikolay Ostrovskiy literary award, 1984
• Literaturnaya Gazeta Prize, 1987
• Andrei Sinyavsky Prize, 1997
• Herder Prize, 1999
• National Book Critics Circle Award for General Nonfiction, Voices from Chernobyl, 2005
• Ryszard Kapu?ci?ski Award for literary reportage, 2011
• Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, 2013
• Prix Médicis essai, 2013
• Nobel Prize in Literature, 2015
• A first writer from Belarus to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature


Svetlana Alexievich had to leave Belorussia because of mounting persecution during the authoritarian regime of Alexander Lukashenko, the first President of Belarus in 1994. She lived in exile in Europe through International Cities of Refuge Network. She returned to Minsk in 2011.

Summary Of Major Works

• War's Unwomanly Face (1985)
• Last Witnesses (1985)
• Zinky Boys (1990)
• Voices of Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster (1997)
• Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets (2013)

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