“Le Monde” Literary Prize 2021: the selection

“Le Monde” will award its literary prize, for the ninth time, on September 8. We will find its winner or winner in “Le Monde des livres” the next day, dated September 10.

The eleven titles in the running for the 2021 “Le Monde” Literary Prize

  • “The Definition of Happiness”, by Catherine Cusset, Gallimard
    Crossing the last forty years in the footsteps of Clarisse and Eve, whose novel traces their destinies since adolescence.
  • “The Laughter of the Goddesses”, by Ananda Devi, Grasset
    Around the prostitutes of an Indian town, the daughter of one of them and a corrupt spiritual master, a novel about religious hypocrisy, to the glory of the solidarity of women and all the oppressed.
  • “Jacqueline Jacqueline”, by Jean-Claude Grumberg, Seuil
    A story of grief, anger and love, written after the playwright lost his lifelong partner in 2019.
  • “In the spring of the monsters”, by Philippe Jaenada, Mialet-Barrault
    Long investigation carried out to exonerate Lucien Léger, condemned for the murder of a little boy, Luc Taron, in 1964.
  • “My Father’s Boy”, by Emmanuelle Lambert, Stock
    Recounting the last five days of her father’s life, and returning to their bond, Emmanuelle Lambert erects for this beloved man not a tomb but a book ” who would forget to be sad”.
  • “Another divine day”, by Denis Michelis, Notabilia
    The confessions and ramblings of Robert, once a therapist, now locked up in a psychiatric hospital, who dreamed of ” change the world “.
  • “Mobylette”, by Frédéric Ploussard, Héloïse d’Ormesson
    In the east of France, the very tall Dominique works as a specialized educator, and depicts a fairly chaotic and backfiring daily life.
  • “Fire”, by Maria Pourchet, Fayard
    A love story told by the two protagonists of an affair, who throw themselves into the blaze of desire with the hope of being reborn – or not.
  • “Furies”, by Julie Ruocco, Actes Sud
    A variation on the Oresteia of Aeschylus from the meeting, on the border between Turkey and Syria, of a French archaeologist who has become an art trafficker and a Syrian firefighter transformed into a gravedigger.
  • “The Most Secret Memory of Men”, by Mohamed Mbougar Sarr, Philippe Rey/Jimsaan
    A treasure hunt, from one continent to another, in the footsteps of a legendary novel, whose author disappeared after being accused of plagiarism.
  • “Mahmoud or the rising waters”, by Antoine Wauters, Verdier
    His boat on Lake El-Assad is for Mahmoud “the only possible place”the one from which he dives to find his past and contemplate the history of Syria, which he evokes in free verse.

Previous winners

“She lied for the wings”, by Francesca Serra, Anne Carrière

“A Beast in Paradise”, by Cécile Coulon, L’Iconoclaste

“In his image”, by Jérôme Ferrari, Actes Sud

“The Art of Losing”, by Alice Zeniter, Flammarion

“Laëtitia or the end of men”, by Ivan Jablonka, Seuil

“This changing heart”, by Agnès Desarthe, L’Olivier

“The Kingdom”, by Emmanuel Carrère, POL

“Happy the happy”, by Yasmina Reza, Flammarion

The Jury

It is made up of thirteen journalists who work in the four “corners” of the World : Jérôme Fenoglio, director of World and president of the jury; Jean Birnbaum, responsible for the “World of Books”; Emmanuel Davidenkoff (editorial development); Solenn de Royer (Politics); Zineb Dryef (Mr. the magazine of World); Gaëlle Dupont (Planet); Clara Georges (“Time”); Florent Georgesco (“The World of Books”); Raphaëlle Leyris (“The World of Books”); Raphaëlle Rérolle (Great reporters); Alain Salles (International); Macha Séry (“The World of Books”); and Nicolas Weill (“The World of Books”).

The World of Books

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“Le Monde” Literary Prize 2021: the selection