Prix ​​Goncourt 2021: more than 9 novels in the running and new rules

“Just a clarification” : as Jakie Quartz sang so well, this is the atmosphere that was to reign more or less during this new meeting of the Goncourt jurors in Drouant, this Tuesday, October 5, to establish their second selection. Because a certain tension hovered since the revelations of France Inter. On September 21, journalist Ilana Moryoussef indeed indicated that François Noudelmann, selected on the first list of the prize for “the Children of Cadillac” (Gallimard), was none other than the companion of Camille Laurens, one of the jurors. To make matters worse, Camille Laurens had signed in “Le Monde des livres” a murderous review of “La Carte postale” by Anne Berest, a novel with a theme close to that of Noudelmann, namely the destiny of a Jewish lineage during World War II.

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The jury, which took advantage of being reunited to organize an extraordinary general meeting, adopted new rules to prevent such a situation from happening again. From now on, “The works of the spouses, companions or close relatives of the members of the jury cannot be retained”. Furthermore : “To respect the secrecy of the vote, including their own vote, the members of the jury who hold a literary column in a media refrain from chronicling the works which appear in the selection as long as these works appear there. » And we swear to be vigilant: “Any member who breaches these obligations would be considered to have resigned as of right. » In fact, according to these new rules, which took effect as soon as the vote ended (” unanimously “, it is specified), the novel by François Noudelmann was ousted from the race. That of Anne Berest is still on the second list.

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This one has nine novels – and not eight as planned, a sign that the jury probably had other problems to settle. Several heavyweights have been dismissed: Philippe Jaenada with his Spring of Monsters » (Mialet-Barrault), Maria Pourchet, whose ” Fire “ (Fayard) still compete in Decemberat the Interallied and at Renaudotand David Diop, just winner of the prestigious International Booker Prize for his novel “Brothers of Soul”. Remain in the running Christine Angot, who upsets with the story of her incest in “Journey to the East” (flaming), Agnès Desarthe, who weaves memories, trials and doubts in “The Eternal Betrothed” (Olive Tree)Clara Dupont-Monod and “Adapt” (Stock), his beautiful book about his handicapped brother, Louis-Philippe Dalembert and “Milwaukee Blues” (Sabine Wespieser) inspired by the assassination of George Floyd, and Tanguy Viel, who stages in the excellent “La Fille qu’on appel” (Midnight) a mayor who tries to obtain sexual favors through his status – which is not unlike the Darmanin affair.

Add to that the record holder of nominations for the Grands Prix d’Automne: Mohamed Mbougar Sarr, who appears on six lists including those of Goncourt, female and Renaudot with “The most secret memory of men” (Philip Rey)closely followed by Abel Quentin with “Le Voyant d’Etampes” (The Observatory), a novel on the popular theme of “wokism” (4 lists). The four finalists will be announced on October 26. And see you on November 3 at Drouant to find out who will succeed Hervé Le Tellier including “The Anomaly” (Gallimard) became an absolute bestseller.

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The 9 novels selected for the Goncourt Prize 2021

  • The Journey to the East, by Christine Angot (Flammarion)
  • Postcard, by Anne Berest (Grasset)
  • Bastard’s child, by Sorj Chalandon (Grasset)
  • Milwaukee Blues, by Louis-Philippe Dalembert (Sabine Wespieser)
  • The Eternal Betrothed, by Agnes Desarthe (Olive Tree)
  • Adapt, by Clara Dupont-Monod (Stock)
  • The Seer of Etampes, by Abel Quentin (The Observatory)
  • The most secret memory of men, by Mohamed Mbougar Sarr (Philip Rey)
  • The girl we call, by Tanguy Viel (Midnight ed.)

Prix ​​Renaudot 2021: the first list includes 16 novels and 10 essays

To note : the Goncourt Academy now consists of Didier Decoin (president), Pierre Assouline, Tahar Ben Jelloun, Pascal Bruckner, Françoise Chandernagor, Philippe Claudel, Paule Constant, Camille Laurens, Patrick Rambaud and Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt.

Also to note: most of these books have been, or will soon be reviewed in the literary pages of “L’Obs”. And the latest news from the literary awards can be found here.

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Prix ​​Goncourt 2021: more than 9 novels in the running and new rules