Alexievich is Ukranian by birth and lives in Belarus. She has written books and compiled extensive oral histories about the Soviet war in Afghanistan, the nuclear devastation in Chernobyl and works about Russia’s post-Soviet return to fundamentalism.
The Nobel committee said Alexievich, 67, was recognized “for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time.”
Alexievich’s 1997 book “Voices From Chernobyl” is the basis of the upcoming documentary feature of the same name.
Alexievich is the rare non-fiction writer to win the prestigious prize, which typically goes to novelists, playwrights and poets. Winston Churchill (1953) and Bertrand Russell (1950) are among past winners known largely for non-fiction works.
(Pictured: the 2014 Nobel Prize ceremony)