Annie Ernaux was born in 1940. She grew up in Normandy, in Yvetot, where her parents ran a grocery store. After studying literature in Rouen, she became an associate professor and pursued a teaching career while writing. Her first novel, Cleaned Out (1974), describes the heartbreak of a class defector. From A Man's Place (Prix Renaudot 1984), she breaks with fiction and engages in new forms of autobiography. To this date, she has written about twenty books.