STORY: In explaining its choice, the Swedish Academy said Ernaux, 82, "consistently and from different angles, examines a life marked by strong disparities regarding gender, language and class."
The first French woman to win the literature prize, Ernaux said winning was "a new responsibility."
"This responsibility is about carrying on the fight against injustice," she said at a news conference at her publishers' Gallimard, "everything that is a form of injustice towards woman, towards those I call the dominated ones."
She has previously said that writing is a political act, opening our eyes for social inequality. "And for this purpose she uses language as 'a knife', as she calls it, to tear apart the veils of imagination," the academy said.
"I will fight until my last breath so that women be able to choose to become mothers or to choose not to," she said.