French writer Annie Ernaux wins 2022 Nobel Prize

Stockholm, Sweden/ Cergy, France October 6, 2022

This year’s 2022 Nobel Prize for Literature winner is French writer Annie Ernaux as a surprise selection. The 82-year-old writer is known for works that blur the line between memoir and fiction. Ms. Ernaux was on the betting list at Ladbrokes Coral, the leading London betting parlor, of writers for this years Nobel Prize in London. Every year Ladbrokes Coral releases a list of leading contenders for the Nobel Prize in Literature, the most popular and valuable of the Nobel Prizes.

Ernaux was considered a long shot on a list that included better-known name writers such as Margaret Atwood and Anne Carson (both Canadians), Haruki Murakami (Japan), Edna O’Brien (Ireland), and Salman Rushdie (India) for the Nobel. The selection of Ernaux is considered a breakthrough as all previous winners of the French Nobels were all male. The difference this year was pointed out by Dr Ruth Cruickshank, an academic who specialises in contemporary French literature at Royal Holloway, University of London. She pointed out that all previous French writers in the 20thth and 21stst centuries since 1901 who won the Nobel Prize were “thirteen dead and two living white French men Nobel laureates.”

The Nobel citation for the 2022 Nobel Prize in Literature, declared Ernaux “has created an uncompromising” 50-year body of work exploring a life marked by great disparities regarding gender, language and class.”

The Nobel Prize in Literature is the most valued award in the world of literature, with an award this year of € 900,000 Euros (with a conversion rate to $896,000 US dollars).

126988993_capture.jpgSteven Ford Brown

Russian Journalist Protests Ukraine War


Journalist Marina Vladimirovna Ovsyannikova who worked for Channel One Russia’s television news station interrupted a broadcast of Vremya News broadcast to protest against the Russian invasion of Ukraine. She was arrested, held without access to her lawyer, and later released. As of October 2022, she is wanted by the Russian justice system after escaping her pre-trial house arrest; her lawyer says that she fled to an undisclosed location in Europe. She was assisted in fleeing Russia by Reporters Without Borders.


Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Without Borders (RWB) is an international non-profit organisation headquartered in Paris, France. RWB is guided by principles of democratic governance. We are neither a trade union nor a representative of media companies.

Reporters Without Borders (RSB) defends the right of every human being to have access to free and reliable information. This right is essential to know, understand, form an opinion and take action on vital issues in full awareness, both individually and collectively. Our mission? Act for the freedom, pluralism and independence of journalism and defend those who embody these ideals. Our mandate is in the spirit of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and of the major declarations and charters relating to journalistic ethics, notably the Munich Declaration of the Duties and Rights of Journalists.

Reporters Without Borders link:

Peruvian Poet Blanca Varela, The Intellectuals and Expats of The Paris Left Bank Cafes


Blanca Varela in Paris 1940

Editing an anthology of Latin American poets of the twentieth century for Dan Veach at The Atlanta Review, I found this remarkable photograph of Peruvian poet Blanca Varela many years ago. This enchanting photograph is of Varela in her late 20s, perhaps during a period when she traveled to Paris with her new husband, abstract and conceptual artist Fernando de Szyszlo Valdelomar. In Paris she met artists and intellectuals, such as André Breton, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Henri Michaux, Alberto Giacometti and Fernand Léger. In the early twentieth century, the bookstores and cafes of the Left Bank along the Seine River were a magnet that drew many Latin American artists and writers. The extraordinary Polish painter Tamara de Lempika, visiting Moscow with her new husband, fled to Paris as The Bolshevik Revolution erupted in Russia. Mexican poet Octavio Paz, a future Nobel Prize recipient for Literature, also met Varela in Paris. Paz talking about his encounters with intellectuals in the cafés of the Latin Quarter at Café de Flore on the Seine River said of her: “At that time we all used to sing. And among those songs you could hear a lonesome song of one Peruvian girl: Blanca Varela. The most secret, timid and natural of them all.”

Additional Information

Varela’s mother was Serafina Quinteras a writer, poet, singer, journalist, and composer. Blanca studied Humanities and Education at the National University of San Marcos. After her time in Paris, Varela lived in Florence, Italy and Washington, D.C. In 1962 she returned to Lima, Peru and then traveled mainly to the U.S, Spain, and France. She was awarded the Octavio Poetry Prize (Mexico City) , The International Federico García Lorca Prize (Granada, Spain), and Queen Sophia’s Prize for Iberoamerican Poetry (Madrid, Spain). Her books have been translated into English, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Czech. She passed away in 2009 in her native Peru.

Steven Ford Brown

English Wildlife Photographer in Sweden Finds Four Baby Orphan Squirrels in Forest And Falls In Love

Dani Connor Wild graduated from Exter University in England before heading to Northern Sweden for an adventure in a forest near the North Pole (and top of the world!). A conservationist and wildlife photographer, Dani hikes through the woods and finds five orphaned baby red squirrels after their mother was killed by a car on a nearby country road. She visits the little squirrels in the forest daily and leaves food and water so they can grow up without being caged. She falls in love with them, and they fall in love with her. The squirrels learn how to survive on their own. She makes another trip to Sweden six months later and discovers they still recognize her!

Keep up with Dani Connor Wild on YouTube:



“Suzanne,” the magical song by Leonard Cohen

The film clip of “Suzanne,” the magical song by Leonard Cohen,” is from the French movie “Jules and Jim,” directed by legendary filmmaker Francois Traffaut. The 1962 film is based on the French autobiographical novel  “Jules Et Jim,” by Henri-Pierre Roch published in France (1953).

In the Roch book Jules arrives from Austria to bellepoque* Paris, where he is befriended by Jim. Together they embark upon a riotously Bohemian life, full of gaiety, color and bustle. And then there is Kate, the enigmatic German girl with the mysterious smile. Capricious, untamed and curiously innocent, Kate steals their hearts in turn, and so begins the moving and tender story of three people in love, with each other and with life. (Source: description from publisher)

* The term belle epoque soon found its way into English, where it came to be used to refer not only to the glory days of late 19th-century France, but to any similarly luxurious period. It is now used to more elegantly convey the sentiments of another nostalgic expression, “the good old days.” Merriam-Webster Dictionary

The video clip is appropriate for Cohen as his own life began in Montreal, Canada and him led to a life as a musician, novelist, poet, and lover of women and travel. He was a romantic at heart, a lover of life and people, and the magnificent cities of Europe and the Mediterranean Sea, including Greece.

Photos: Suzanne Verdal, Cohen from first album, 1967

Poem by Tomas Tranströmer


Icelandic Hurricane

No earth tremor, but a skyquake. Turner could have painted it, secured by ropes. A single mitten whirled past right now, several miles from its hand. Facing the storm I am heading for that house on the other side of the field. I flutter in the hurricane. I am being x-rayed, my skeleton hands in its application for discharge. Panic grows while I tack about, I am wrecked, I am wrecked and drown on dry land! How heavy it is, all that I suddenly have to carry, how heavy it is for the butterfly to tow a barge! There at last. A final bout of wrestling with the door. And now inside. Behind the huge window-pane. What a strange and magnificent invention glass is—to be close without being stricken. . . Outside a horde of transparent splinters of gigantic shapes rush across the lava plain. But I flutter no more. I sit behind the glass, still, my own portrait.

Screenshot 2023-01-02 at 11.31.04 PM

2022 Nobel Peace Prize Winners In Oslo

Osloa, Norway, December 7, 2022



Left to right: Pinchuk, Rachinsky, Matviichuk

The Nobel Peace Prize for 2022 was awarded in Oslo, Norway to human rights advocate Ales Bialiatski of the Viasna Human Rights Centre from Belarus (Imprisoned by the Belarusuian government, his wife Natallia Pinchuk accepted his award); the Russian human rights organisation Memorial, and Ukrainian human rights organisation Centre for Civil Liberties.

Under the provisions of Alfred Nobel’s will, the Norwegian Nobel Committee is charged with awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to the person or organisation that has conferred the greatest benefit to humankind in the field of peace during the preceding year.”

Closing remarks from the Nobel Peace Prize winners

Natallia Pinchuk, wife of the jailed activist Ales Bialiatski: “I hope that the Belarusian voice will be heard by the international community. I hope for this, people in Belarus hope for this, and those compatriots who live abroad also hope for this.”

Jan Rachinsky from the Russian organisation, Memorial: “It’s very difficult to imagine the world without Putin; he’s been in power for so long. Let’s hope we’ll see the day that the world will be based on respect for international law and not on the efforts of separate countries to destroy that.”

Oleksandra Matviichuk from the Ukrainian Centre for Civil Liberties: “This is a very important human story because civil society and human rights defenders [have] always built invisible ties and protect[ed] people in circumstances when the law doesn’t work. Now we continue jointly to resist the common evil which tries to dominate in our part of the world. I couldn’t predict what will be in the future, but I know for sure that we will do our best in order to create the future we want.”


International Artist Banksy showcases new art in war-ravaged Ukrainian city

Banksy is a pseudonymous England-based street artist, political activist and film director whose real name and identity remain unconfirmed and the subject of speculation. Banksy is a pseudonymous England-based street artist, political activist and film director whose real name and identity remain unconfirmed and the subject of speculation. Banksy biography at Wikipedia

Playing For Environmental ChangeAround The World

John Paul Jones, London, England

This video features musicians playing for the global campaign ChangeAround The World. John Paul Jones of British band Led Zeppelin leads a global collaboration of musicians playing from Earth’s cities, territories, and tribal homelands, including Peranaá, Argentina, Venice Beach, California, London, England, and Kitekite Falls, New Zealand (complete list below). The campaign to save Planet Earth from human impact is to preserve the delicate balance of the world’s biodiverse ecosystem that exists within the only inhabited Blue Planet in the universe.

Definition biodiversity: Biodiversity refers to the variety of living species on Earth, including humans, animals, ocean, land, and sky dwellers, bacteria, fungi, and plants. The Earth’s biodiversity is rich but many species are being threatened with extinction due to human activities, putting the Earth’s magnificent biodiversity at risk. Each of these species and organisms work together in ecosystems, like an intricate web, to maintain balance and support life. Biodiversity supports everything in nature that we need to survive: food, clean water, medicine, and shelter. Source: National Geographic

“When The Levee Breaks” is a powerful, thought-provoking, and emotionally charged song by Led Zeppelin from the album Led Zeppelin IV (1971). The song on the Zeppelin album is a new version of the 1929 original recording by Kansas Joe Mccoy and Memphis Minnie about the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, the most destructive river flooding in U.S. history, with 27,000 square miles (70,000 km2) inundated in depths of up to 30 feet. The flood affected Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas. Arkansas suffered the most damage, with 14% of its territory covered by floodwaters extending from the Mississippi and Arkansas deltas across the landscape.

Origin of the song “When The Levee Breaks”: Memphis Minnie (born Lizzie Douglas 1897 in Tunica County, Mississippi, died 1973) was married to Kansas Joe Mccoy (born 1905 in Raymond, Mississippi, died 1950). As a married black couple in the Deep South, the largest region at the time in the United States where black citizens lived, they were deeply affected by the destruction of the region where they were both born and lived. The couple wrote music and lyrics to the song and recorded it for Columbia Records in September 1929 in New York City.


Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe Mccoy, 1929

If it keeps on rainin’, levee’s goin’ to break
If it keeps on rainin’, levee’s goin’ to break
And the water gonnna come in and we’ll have no place to stay

Well all last night I sat on the levee and moan
Well all last night I sat on the levee and moan
Thinkin’ ’bout my baby and my happy home

Copyright ⓒ 1929 Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe Mccoy.


“When The Levee Breaks,” recorded New York City, 1929

Film location information: This video was shot on location with dancers and musicians from cities, countries, territories, and tribal lands in: Argentina (Peranaá); California (Los Angeles, Mission Beach, Topango Canyon, Venice Beach); Congo (Kinshasa and Lukla); England (London); Florida (Jacksonville); Minnesota (Anishinaabe Tribal Land); New Zeland (Kitekite Falls, Pina and Te Henga Bethells Beach); Nigeria (Eruwa); Norway (Guovdageaidnu Sampi Tribal Land); Texas (Austin); Utah (Valley of the Gods).

Non-Profit Conservation Partners for the World

Partners in Peace and Environment

American Rivers

The World Wildlife Fund

Conservation International

The Nature Conservancy of Massachusetts

The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation

Steven Ford Brown