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The Femina 2021 Prize for the French novel was awarded on Monday to the writer Clara Dupond-Monod, rewarding her work “To adapt”. The foreign prize goes to the Turkish novelist, Ahmet Altan.
Winner of the Landerneau Readers’ Prize, editor and journalist Clara Dupond-Monod won a new award in less than a week. The Femina opened, Monday, October 25, the literary prize season by choosing the writer for “To adapt” (Stock editions), while the foreign prize went to the Turk Ahmet Altan for a novel written in prison.
Meeting at the Carnavalet museum in Paris, the exclusively female jury chose this winner in the eighth round, with six votes, against five for Thomas B. Reverdy for “Climax” (Flammarion).
48-year-old editor and journalist, Clara Dupont-Monod had won the Landerneau readers’ prize a week earlier, for this fiction on the arrival of a disabled child in siblings.
This prize, “I would like to dedicate it to all the different beings, who are nevertheless 12 million in France, and to all their siblings, all those who take care of them”, she commented to the press. “When a jury says: we are going to adapt to a misfit, well we say to ourselves that it is almost won.”
The author, warned by her editor, said she was surprised by the news. “I didn’t understand right away. It’s very moving: it goes beyond the book, what this award crowns, and that’s what touches me,” she explained.
The Femina Prize is the first of the autumn literary grand prizes, before the Medici on Tuesday, the French Academy’s Grand Prix du roman on Thursday, and the Goncourt and Renaudot prizes on November 3.
The Femina Prize for Foreign Novels went to Ahmet Altan, for “Madame Hayat” (Actes Sud), a novel written in prison and not yet published in its original language. It was in the first round that he won, with eight votes.
The young narrator falls in love with this older lady, of whom he writes that “she was not beautiful strictly speaking, but she had something more attractive than beauty, a sparkle of vitality”.
Picasso, 140 years old
Released from prison in April after his conviction for participating in the failed 2016 coup, which he firmly denies, the 71-year-old writer and journalist cannot leave his country.
“Unfortunately I will not be able to be with you today (…) to travel outside Turkey being forbidden to me”, he declared in a video of thanks to the jury.
In a letter read to the press by his French editor Timour Muhidine, the author dedicated this Femina award “to all Turkish and Kurdish women unjustly imprisoned”.
Finally, the prize for the essay was awarded to Annie Cohen-Solal for “A foreigner named Picasso” (Fayard), which tells how the Spanish master never acquired French nationality.
Eliminated from the selection of finalists, this work was drafted and elected in the fourth round with six votes. The historian, interviewed by AFP, said she was delighted.
“It turns out that Picasso is 140 years old today! He’s a man who never complained about what happened to him, while for decades he lived something that all foreigners experience: he was going at the police station every two years put his fingerprints. He never said a word about it, “recalled Annie Cohen-Solal.
When he applied for nationality in 1940, “he was an obscure ticket office official, a little fellow with exorbitant power, a real Pétainiste, who buried his file. I discovered his name, and I was able to understand how even a great genius is not immune to administration, ”she added.
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The Femina Prize awarded to Clara Dupont-Monod for her novel “To adapt”