Although known worldwide, she was forced to flee her homeland in 2011. She lived in Gothenburg for a period.
The Nobel Committee said on its website that it gave the award "for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time."
Alexievich was born in 1948, in Ukraine. Her family moved to Belarus when she was a child. Alexievich studied journalism in Minsk during the late 1960s and early 1970s and later worked for a newspaper.
Alexievich was transferred to a newspaper on the Polish border "because of her oppositional views" according to a biography on the Nobel Committee's website, but she later returned to Minsk to write for the newspaper Sel’skaja Gazeta.
Alexievich only published her first book in 1985 after years of collecting materials. The Nobel Committee states:
"By means of her extraordinary method – a carefully composed collage of human voices –Alexievich deepens our comprehension of an entire era. The consequences of the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl 1986 is the topic of Černobyl’skaja molitva (Voices from Chernobyl –Chronicle of the Future, 1999). Cinkovye mal’čiki (1990; Zinky Boys – Soviet voices from a forgotten war, 1992) is a portrayal of the Soviet Union’s war in Afghanistan 1979–89, and her work Vremja second chènd (2013; Second-hand Time: The Demise of the Red (Wo)man) is the latest in Voices of Utopia."