Annie Ernaux's Diaries

The Paris Review had good timing when it devoted space this past spring to 2022 Literature Nobel Winner Annie Ernaux, several months before she won the prize.

According to a blog post about the material published in May, the real diaries are the source material for her book Simple Passion (1991).

From the blog:

While reading an old diary, and letters she sent to a classmate, she recognizes certain falsenesses in them—pretensions, lies, self-deceptions. The quotations from books she copied down in 1958 now strike her as a more direct means of access to her state of mind then. All memoir involves time travel, and yet Ernaux, as she twists and turns, trying to cross the schisms between her various selves, manages to create what feels like a new tense—a literary time zone that can hold it all at once.


These diaries feel like gifts, or offerings, that are unlike any other kind of writing. There is, as Ernaux herself writes in a brief introduction, “a truth in those pages that differed from the one to be found in Simple Passion—something raw and dark, without salvation, a kind of oblation.”

Tags nobel prize annie ernaux fiction autofiction literature