Stockholm, Switzerland (BBN)-Belarusian writer and journalist Svetlana Alexievich has won the 2015 Nobel Prize for literature.
The prize committee called her writing “a monument to courage and suffering in our time’, reports BBC.
The award – presented to a living writer – is worth eight million kronor (£691,000).
Previous winners include literary giants Rudyard Kipling and Ernest Hemingway and French historical author Patrick Modiano who won in 2015.
Alexievich is a political writer who is critical of her home country’s government.
Her best known works in English translation included Voices From Chernobyl, an oral history of the nuclear catastrophe; and Boys In Zink, a collection of first-hand accounts from the Soviet-Afghan war.
The author was born in 1948 in the Ukrainian town of Ivano-Frankivsk, to a Belarusian father and Ukrainian mother.
The family moved to Belarus after her father completed his military service, and Alexievich studied journalism at the University of Minsk between 1967 and 1972.
After graduation, she worked as a journalist for several years before publishing her first book, War’s Unwomanly Face, in 1985.
Based on interviews with hundreds of women who participated in the Second World War, it set a template for her future works, constructing narratives from witnesses to the world’s most shattering events.
On her personal website, Alexievich explains her pursuit of journalism: “I chose a genre where human voices speak for themselves.”
She has previously won the Swedish PEN prize for her “courage and dignity as a writer.”
The 67-year-old author was the bookies’s favourite to win the award, according to Ladbrokes.
She beat other hot favourites Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami and Kenyan novelist Ngugi Wa Thiong’o.
Alexievich is the 14th woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in its history.
A total of 112 individuals have won it between 1901 and 2015.