The Femina Prize awarded to Clara Dupont-Monod for her novel “Adapt”

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The 2021 Prix Femina for the French novel was awarded on Monday to the writer Clara Dupond-Monod, rewarding her work “Adapt”. The foreign prize goes to the Turkish novelist, Ahmet Altan.

Winner of the Landerneau readers’ prize, publisher and journalist Clara Dupond-Monod won a new award in less than a week. The Femina opened, Monday, October 25, the season of literary prizes by choosing the writer for “Adapt” (Stock editions), while the foreign prize went to the Turk Ahmet Altan for a novel written in prison.

Gathered at the Carnavalet museum in Paris, the 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 had won the Landerneau readers’ prize a week earlier for this fiction about the arrival of a disabled child in a family.

This prize, “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.

The Femina Prize is the first of the major literary prizes of the fall, before the Medici on Tuesday, the Grand Prix of the novel of the French Academy on Thursday, and the Goncourt and Renaudot prizes on November 3.

The Femina prize for the foreign novel 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 lady older than him, of whom he writes that “she was not beautiful, strictly speaking, but she had something even 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 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 of Turkey being prohibited to me”, he declared 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 foreigner named Picasso” (Fayard), which tells how the Spanish master never acquired French nationality.

Eliminated from the selection of finalists, this book was drafted and elected in the fourth round with six votes. The historian, interviewed by AFP, said she was delighted.

“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 nationality in 1940, “it was an obscure official at the counter, a little guy with exorbitant power, a real Pétainist, 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.

With AFP

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The Femina Prize awarded to Clara Dupont-Monod for her novel “Adapt”