For those of us who woke up before the sun even rose today, all in an effort to be among the first to know who won this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature (or, you know, because we have crippling insomnia), there is a reward that goes beyond the inherent joy of watching the sky make its way from its deepest darkness and through the type of silvery gray that makes us feel, if only for a little while, that it’s definitely going to rain today—even when it isn’t—and into the first watery blue minutes of the morning, and that reward is: Nobel Prize twitter.Oh, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking: Why celebrate twitter when we should just be celebrating newly minted Nobel Prize-winner Svetlana Alexeivich? But, you see, that’s EXACTLY what twitter is doing. (Or, well, my twitter feed anyway, which is obviously a self-selecting sort of situation, like phone-conducted polling surveys or going to Bennington.) And that’s why Nobel Prize twitter is so great. Because for one morning of the year (ok, this happens during National Book Award and Pulitzer seasons too), you get a constant stream of links to the work of someone with whose work you might not be familiar, though probably you ought to be.
In the case of Alexeivich—who is notable not only for being a woman (only about 10 percent of Literature Nobel winners are women, though 50 percent have been women in the last eight years, so), but also for writing non-fiction—this means that you can be introduced to older works of hers like Zinky Boys: The Record of a Lost Soviet Generation or even get acquainted for the first time with her masterwork Voices from Chernobyl, edited by n+1 founder Keith Gessen.
This might all come off as pretty twitter cheerleader-y, and I guess it is, but Nobel Prize twitter isn’t only good for great author-boosterism. It also—and perhaps most importantly—serves as a reminder of what is a funny tweet:
— Alex Shephard (@alex_shephard) October 8, 2015
and what isn’t:
Swedish Academy awarded to me the Nobel Prize in Literature 2015. I receive now a call from Sweden. I’m happy, very happy! Thanks. — Svetlana Alexievich (@SvAlexievich) October 8, 2015
This account is hoax created by the Italian journalist Tommasso Debenedetti.
— Svetlana Alexievich (@SvAlexievich) October 8, 2015