The jurors of the Académie Goncourt revealed, this Tuesday, September 7, the first selection of novels competing for the 2021 edition of the most prestigious French literary prize. Sixteen novels were selected, including the latest work by Haitian writer Louis-Philippe Dalembert, “Milwaukee Blues”, inspired by the assassination of George Floyd.
Louis-Philippe Dalembert, known for his best-selling books “The good Lord’s pencil has no eraser”, “Dangerous crossroads” and more recently “Mediterranean wall”, is a regular at literary awards. Indeed, he was the winner of numerous prizes, including the RFO prize in 1999 for “The other face of the sea”, the Casa de las Américas prize in 2008 for “The gods travel at night” and the Thyde Monnier prize of SGDL in 2013. “Before the shadows fade away” (2017) won the Orange and France Bleu / Page bookstores prizes; “Mediterranean Wall”, published in August 2019, was winner of the French Language Prize, the Goncourt Prize for Switzerland and Poland and finalist for the Goncourt Prize for high school students.
“Milwaukee Blues”, available since August 26, 2021, seems to be going just as well. The novel was selected among the 4 finalists for the 2021 Roman Fnac prize, won by “The Son of Man” by Jean-Baptiste Del Amo. It is now in the first selection of the most prestigious French literary prize, the Goncourt, like its predecessor. May our national Dalembert win it this time!
But the task will not be easy for the native of Port-au-Prince. Other names that resonate strongly in French literature are also found on this list, including Sorj Chalandon who already has a fine list of autumn prizes: Médicis in 2006, Grand Prix du roman de l’Académie française in 2011, Goncourt high school students in 2013; David Diop, Goncourt of high school students in 2018 and international Man-Booker Prize 2020; Philippe Jaenada, already crowned with the Femina prize in 2017.
Which of these potential winners will be awarded the most coveted award of the season? It will take almost two months to know the name of the one who will succeed Hervé Le Tellier, 2020 winner with “L’Anomalie”. The second selection of Goncourt 2021 will be revealed on October 5, 2021 and will include eight titles. The third selection comprising the four finalists will be announced on October 26 and the famous prize will be announced, at Drouant, on November 3.
The 16 novels selected for the 2021 Goncourt Prize
1. “The Journey to the East”, by Christine Angot (Flammarion)
2. “The Postcard”, by Anne Berest (Grasset)
3. “Bastard’s Child”, by Sorj Chalandon (Grasset)
4. “Milwaukee Blues”, by Louis-Philippe Dalembert (Sabine Wespieser)
5. “The Eternal Fiance”, by Agnès Desarthe (L’Olivier)
6. “The Door of the No Return Journey”, by David Diop (Seuil)
7. “To adapt”, by Clara Dupont-Monod (Stock)
8. “Speak quietly”, by Elsa Fottorino (Mercure de France)
9. “If only one remains”, by Patrice Franceschi (Grasset)
10. “Bitter Sun”, by Lilia Hassaine (Gallimard)
11. “In the spring of the monsters”, by Philippe Jaenada (Mialet-Barrault)
12. “The Children of Cadillac”, by François Noudelmann (Gallimard)
13. “Feu”, by Maria Pourchet (Fayard)
14. “The Seer of Etampes”, by Abel Quentin (The Observatory)
15. “The Most Secret Memory of Men”, by Mohamed Mbougar Sarr (Philippe Rey)
16. “The Girl We Call”, by Tanguy Viel (éd. De Minuit)
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Prix Goncourt 2021: “Milwaukee Blues” by Louis-Philippe Dalembert among the sixteen novels selected in the first selection