Svetlana Alexievich

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Svetlana Alexievich

Svetlana Aleksándrovna Aleksiévich or Svetlana Alexándrovna Alexievich (Aleksiévič, transliterated from Russian Светлана Александровна Алексиевич, in Belarusian Святлана Аляксандраўна Алексіевіч, transliterated as Sviatlana Aliaksándrauna Alieksiyévich); Stanislav, Soviet Ukraine, Soviet Union, May 31, 1948) is a Russian-speaking Belarusian writer and journalist, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2015.

Svetlana_Alexievich’s Biography


Daughter of two masters, he Belarusian and she Ukrainian, Aleksievich was born in the town of Stanislav -actual Ivano-Frankivsk- in Soviet Ukraine, but grew up in the Soviet republic of Belarus. She studied journalism at the University of Minsk from 1967 and when she graduated she went to the city of Biaroza, in the oblast or province of Brest, to work in the local newspaper and school as a professor of history and German. During that time, he was torn between the family tradition of working in teaching and journalism.


Svetlana Aleksievich during a debate at the Red Room in Berlin, February 8, 2011.

She was a reporter in the press of Narowla, in the oblast or province of Gomel. Since his school days he had written poetry and articles for the school press and also in the literary magazine Neman of Minsk, where he published his first essays, stories and reports.

The Belarusian writer Alés Adamóvich inclined her to literature supporting a new genre of polyphonic writing that she called «collective novel», «novel-oratorio», «novel-evidence» or «epic chorus», among other formulas. In his texts halfway between literature and journalism he uses the technique of collage that juxtaposes individual testimonies, with which he gets closer to the human substance of events. For this she had to become a traveler and visit almost the entire Soviet Union. He used this style in his first book, La guerra no tiene la rostro de mujer (1983), in which, based on interviews, he addressed the issue of the Russians who participated in World War II. The premiere of the theater adaptation in Moscow, in 1985, was a great antecedent in the glasnost or opening of the Soviet regime initiated by its leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Alés Adamóvich and Vasil Bykaŭ are the most important influences that the writer herself has recognized in her work.

In Tsínkovyie málchiki (The zinc boys, sometimes translated as Zinc Coffins), 1989, compiles a mosaic of testimonies of mothers of Soviet soldiers who participated in the Afghanistan War; in Zacharóvannye smertiu (Cautivos de la muerte), 1993, offers the vision of those who could not survive the idea of ​​the fall of the Soviet regime and committed suicide. Voces de Chernobyl (1997), one of the few books of his translated into Spanish (2006), exposes the heroism and suffering of those who sacrificed themselves in the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe. Book translated into twenty languages, is still prohibited in Belarus. In his last work, Época del desencanto. The end of homo sovieticus, published simultaneously in German and Russian in 2014, seeks to make a generational portrait of all those who experienced the dramatic fall of the utopian Soviet communist state, and has also written numerous scripts for documentaries and several plays .

His work is a personal chronicle of the history of Soviet and post-Soviet men and women, whom he interviewed for his stories during the most dramatic moments in the history of his country, such as World War II, the War of Afghanistan, the fall of the Soviet Union and the Chernobyl accident. Faced with the authoritarian regime and censorship of the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, he left Belarus in 2000 and lived in Paris, Gothenburg and Berlin. In 2011 Aleksievich returned to Minsk. Several of her books were published in Europe, the United States, China, Vietnam and India and she received the 2015 Nobel Prize, being the first non-fiction writer with this award in a century.

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