“Don’t stop me now”, the late Freddie Mercury called out in his muscular voice. Don’t stop me now, price season seems to echo and in VF. After the Wepler and the Medici this morning, here is, on this glorious day of September 8, 2021, the first selection of the Femina Prize. Seventeen French novels, sixteen foreign novels. Classic sport and a few steps aside. The ladies of Femina, with their new recruits Nathalie Azoulai, Scholastique Mukasongo and Patricia Reznikov who arrived last June, are once again showing measured audacity.
Casually, favorites are starting to come off. For now, it’s a Grand Slam for Mohamed Mbougar Sarr. His novel “The Most Secret Memory of Men” (Philippe Rey), already selected for Goncourt and Medici, also appears in the list of Femina. Same box for Christine Angot with “Le Voyage dans l’Est” (Flammarion), which received a very favorable critical reception.
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Medici Prize 2021: 13 French novels and 11 foreigners in the first selection
Alongside names already seen on the Goncourt or Medici lists, such as Anne Berest (“La Carte Postale”, Grasset), Clara Dupont-Monod (“To adapt”, Stock) or Nina Bouraoui (“Satisfaction”, JC Lattès), recognized writers, whose absence so far could surprise, are entering this crazy price race. Thus were selected by the jurors of Femina, Natacha Appanah and “Rien ne t’appartient” (Gallimard), the story of a woman caught up in her past; Thomas B. Reverdy and “Climax” (Flammarion); or Fanny Taillandier and her “Farouches” (Threshold).
Note also the presence of interesting outsiders such as Raphaël Meltz, author of the film “24 times the truth” (The Tripod) or Etienne Kern whose first novel, “Les Envolés” (Gallimard), traces the story of Franz Reichelt, a ladies’ tailor who threw himself from the Eiffel Tower in 1912.
Prix Goncourt 2021: sixteen novels selected in the first selection
As for foreign novels, it’s just as eclectic. Turkish Ahmet Altan rubs shoulders with German Lucy Fricke, Georgian writer Nino Haratischwili and Cuban Leonardo Padura. Among others. The next selections will take place on September 29 and October 13. And to know who will succeed Serge Joncour, on the French side, Deborah Levy, on the foreign side, we will have to wait until October 25. The prize will be awarded to the Carnavalet museum.
Literary season 2021: the selection of “L’Obs” and France Culture
The 17 French novels selected for the Femina 2021 prize:
- The trip to the East, by Christine Angot, (Flammarion)
- Nothing belongs to you by Natacha Appanah (Gallimard)
- Postcard, by Anne Berest (Grasset)
- Satisfaction, by Nina Bouraoui (Jean-Claude Lattès)
- The son of the man, by Jean-Baptiste Del Amo (Gallimard)
- Laughter of the goddesses, Ananda Devi (Grasset)
- Adapt, by Clara Dupont-Monod (Stock)
- Speak quietly by Elsa Fottorino (Mercure de France)
- The Disappearance of Jim Thompson, by Vincent Hein (Arléa)
- The Flights, by Etienne Kern (Gallimard)
- Last oasis, by Charif Majdalani (South Acts)
- 24 times the truth, by Raphaël Meltz (The Tripod)
- The Children of Cadillac, by François Noudelmann (Gallimard)
- The seer of Etampes, Abel Quentin (The Observatory)
- Climax, by Thomas B. Reverdy (Flammarion)
- The most secret memory of men, by Mohamed Mbougar Sarr (Philippe Rey)
- Fierce, by Fanny Taillandier (Threshold)
The 16 foreign novels:
- Mrs Hayat, Ahmet Altan, translated by Julien Lapeyre from Cabanes, (South Acts)
- Mr N., by Najwa Barakat, translated by Philippe Vigreux, (South Acts “Sindbad”)
- The Fire Throwers, by Jan Carson, translated by Dominique Goy-Blanquet (Sabine Wespieser)
- The foreigner, by Claudia Durastanti, translated by Lise Chapuis (Buchet-Chastel)
- Colonial Memories Notebooks, by Isabela Figuereido, translated by Myriam Benarroch & Nathalie Meyroune (Chandeigne)
- Missed Opportunities, by Lucy Fricke, translated by Isabelle Liber (The Quartanier)
- The Cat, the General and the Crow, by Nino Haratischwili, translated by Rose Labourie, (Belfond)
- Because Venus brushed against a cyclamen the day I was born, by Mona Hovring, translated by Jean-Baptiste Coursaud (Notabilia)
- The Prophets, by Robert Jones Junior, translated by David Fauquemberg (Grasset)
- Hades, argentina, by Daniel Loedel, translated from English by David Fauquemberg (The crosses)
- Eichmann in Buenos Aires, by Ariel Magnus, translated by Margot Nguyen Béraud (the Observatory)
- Where happy people lived, by Joyce Maynard, translated by Florence Lévy-Paoloni (Philippe Rey)
- Dust in the wind, by Leonardo Padura, translated by René Solis (Metailie)
- Memorial Drive: Memories of a Girl, by Natasha Trethewey, translated by Céline Leroy (Olive Tree)
- In the name of my people, by Nina Wähä, translated from Swedish by Anna Postel (Robert Laffont)
- The great laughter of men seated at the edge of the world, by Philipp Weiss, translated by Olivier Mannoni (Threshold)
To note : according to the latest news, the Femina jury is made up of Nathalie Azoulai, Evelyne Bloch-Dano, Claire Gallois, Anne-Marie Garat, Paula Jacques, Christine Jordis, Diane de Margerie, Scholastique Mukasonga, Mona Ozouf, Patricia Reznikov, Danièle Sallenave, Josyane Savigneau (president).
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Also note: most of these books have been, or will soon be, reviewed in the literary pages of “The Obs”. And the latest literary award news can be found there.
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Prix Femina 2021: seventeen French novels and sixteen foreign novels in the first list