European literatures in Cognac: what is the 2021 Jean-Monnet Prize worth?

This Saturday, November 20, in Cognac, Donal Ryan, Irish author of 45 years, is distinguished for his novel “By a low and quiet sea”, published by Albin Michel

Antonio Tabucchi in 1995, Jorge Semprun in 2001, Patrick Modiano in 2002… William Boyd in 2003, Sylvie Germain in 2011, Rosa Postorino in 2019. The Jean-Monnet Prize has rewarded illustrious writers. The 27e winner will be distinguished this Saturday, November 20, at 6 p.m., during the festival European literatures. This is the Irish author Donal ryan, honored for his novel “By a low and calm sea”. This 256-page book, translated from English by Marie Hermet, was published by Albin Michel editions last April.

What’s the story?

The story confronts the tragic fate of a Syrian refugee doctor with the internal exile of two Irish people. Here is an excerpt from the back cover: “Fleeing the bombings, Farouk, a Syrian doctor, decides to cross the Mediterranean with his wife and daughter to find asylum in Ireland. This country is the only one Lampy has ever known, a young man who dreams of giving up everything – starting with his family and his job – since his girlfriend Chloe left him. As for John, perhaps because he feels death approaching, he seeks redemption after a life spent doing evil around him. “

Who is the author ?


Donal Ryan: “I worked in the kitchen, I was a truck driver, a salesperson, I did a bit of everything. When I was 23, I became a civil servant, and stayed that way until I started teaching writing workshops at the University of Limerick. “Extract from an interview with the newspaper” Le Monde “, June 2019.

Albin Michel

Donal Ryan was born in 1976 in Tipperary (Ireland). He was a cook, driver and civil servant before leading writing workshops at the University of Limerick. He was revealed by his first novel in 2013, “The Heart that Turns”, voted Best Book of the Year in Ireland, winner of the European Union Prize for Literature and finalist of Man Booker Prize. His second novel, “A Year in the Life of Johnsey Cunliffe” has confirmed its consecration with journalists and readers. ” The world “ calls it a “new prodigy […] drawing his inspiration from the rural and popular world, where he comes from ”.

What did the jury think?

The writer Gérard de Cortanze (Renaudot 2012), president of the jury for the Jean-Monnet Prize, says he wanted to “distinguish a young author considered to be one of the great revelations of Irish literature but also worldwide”. He compares Donal Ryan, 45, “to William Faulkner and John Mc Gahern”. He salutes “pages of intense lyricism” and “powerful and inhabited literature”.

What is the critical reception?

“A dark modern fable, crossed by sparks of humanity […]. In his open ending, Donald Ryan suggests that all is not lost on this earth, ”write ” The echoes “. ” This writer […] has the gift of transforming his writing […], he is a conductor nourished by empathy for his characters, ”emphasizes “Telerama”. “A thin but powerful thread […], a final as unexpected as it is striking ”, assures ” The cross “.

What about the readers’ opinion?

Site contributors Babelio are enthusiastic, giving the novel an average rating of 3.7 out of 5. “An outcome, clear and obvious. This book has a soul, ”writes Marie-Laure. “From the first pages, we are carried away by the breath and the care brought to the story”, adds Frédéric. “The epilogue brings together the narrative threads in a bouquet that is both bitter and peaceful,” says Nicolas.

This 256-page book, translated from English by Marie Hermet, was published by Albin Michel editions last April.

This 256-page book, translated from English by Marie Hermet, was published by Albin Michel editions last April.

Albin Michel

We wish to thank the writer of this short article for this awesome material

European literatures in Cognac: what is the 2021 Jean-Monnet Prize worth?