They were only five in the running. It is finally the novelist Clara Dupont-Monod who wins the Prix Femina 2021, for her novel Adapt (Stock). Lhe exclusively female jury chose this winner in the eighth round, with six votes, against five to Thomas B. Reverdy for Climax (Flammarion). A 48-year-old publisher and journalist, Clara Dupont-Monod won the Landerneau readers’ prize for this fiction about the arrival of a disabled child in a family.
This price, “I would like to dedicate it to all the different beings, who are still 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 publisher, 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.
On October 13, Clara Dupont-Monod (AdaptStock), Jean-Baptiste Del Amo (The son of the manGallimard), Thomas B. Reverdy (ClimaxFlammarion), Nina Bouraoui (SatisfactionJC Lattes) and Mohamed Mbougar Sarr (The most secret memory of men, Philip Rey) were the last finalists still in the running. At the end of September, the jury had dismissed those of Abel Quentin and Christine Angot.
In terms of foreign novels, Ahmet Altan won the prize. The last authors still selected were Ahmet Altan (Mrs Hayat, South Acts, Turkey), Jan Carson (firethrowers, Sabine Wespieser, UK), Daniel Loedel (Hades, Argentina, La Croisée, United States), Joyce Maynard (where the happy people lived, Philippe Rey, United States) and Leonardo Padura (dust in the wind, Métailié, Cuba).
Released from prison in April after his conviction for participating in the failed coup of 2016, 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 (…) traveling outside Turkey is forbidden to me”, he said in a video of thanks to the jury. In a letter read to the press by his French publisher Timour Muhidine, the author dedicated this Femina prize “to all Turkish and Kurdish women unjustly imprisoned”.
Finally, the essay prize was awarded to Annie Cohen-Solal for (A stranger named Picasso, Fayard). Prom the selected essays, the jurors had to choose between Frédéric Gros (Shame is a revolutionary feeling, Albin Michel), Claude Habib (The Trans Question, Gallimard), Arthur Lochmann (Touch vertigo, Flammarion), Amos Reichman (Jacques Schiffrin, a publisher in exile, Seuil) and Perrine Simon-Nahum (modern unreason, Observatory).
“Picasso happens to be 140 today! He is a man who never complained about what happened to him, when for decades he went through something that all foreigners go through: he was going at the police station every two years to put his fingerprints. He never said a word about it”, recalled Annie Cohen-Solal. When he applied for citizenship in 1940, “He is an obscure official at the counter, a little guy with exorbitant power, a real Petainist, who buried his file. I discovered his name, and I was able to understand how even a great genius is not away from the administration”she added.
The Femina for high school students will be unveiled on December 2.
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The Femina 2021 prize rewards Clara Dupont-Monod for her novel “Adapt”