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Interview: Svetlana Alexievich—A melody of voices

Alexievich's ear for the testimony of war and hardship made her a Nobel laureate. In a rare interview, she reveals how she marries the craft of journalism with the novelist's art

By Andrew Dickson   April 2017

©Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images

In a vast, draughty exhibition centre at the Minsk book fair, hundreds of people stand in line. The queue straggles past the children’s bookstand and around a fake red phone box installed by the British embassy. People have been here for hours. At the other end of the hall, a slight woman sits at a table silently signing books. Occasionally she poses for photographs, looking uncomfortable. It is going to be a long day.

When Svetlana Alexievich won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2015, few…

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