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Belarusian Wins Nobel Prize In Literature05:26

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Belarusian writer Svetlana Alexievitch is pictured at the Ukrainian embassy in Minsk on November 14, 2014. (Maxim Malinovsky/AFP/Getty Images)closemore
Belarusian writer Svetlana Alexievitch is pictured at the Ukrainian embassy in Minsk on November 14, 2014. (Maxim Malinovsky/AFP/Getty Images)

In her books, 67-year-old Belarusian journalist Svetlana Alexievich is known for layering the voices of real people whose stories she collects and edits together, in books exploring topics such as the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, the Soviet–Afghan War and the lives of Soviet women who volunteered on the front lines in World War II. The Swedish Academy praised her for her "polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time."

Russian literature scholar Andy Kaufman of the University of Virginia tells Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson that Alexievich has created a unique genre that is "somewhere between history and fiction, history and art," rewriting Russian history in a way that often makes Russian leaders uncomfortable.

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This segment aired on October 8, 2015.

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