Story of personal tragedy wins France's prestigious Goncourt literature prize


French author Brigitte Giraud has won France’s top literature prize, the Prix Goncourt, for a novel based on events that led to the death of her husband in a motorbike accident in 1999.

“The personal has no meaning unless it resonates with the collective,” Giraud said on Thursday after learning she won the award for her book Vivre vite (Live Fast), which is based on a personal story but is “much larger" than that.

Giraud “poses the question of destiny” with “a lot of simplicity and authenticity”, said the President of the Goncourt Academy, Didier Decoin, from the Drouant restaurant in Paris where the jury traditionally meets and decides on the winner.

Prolific writer

Born in Algeria, Giraud, 62, is from Lyon and has written a dozen books.

She won the Goncourt short story prize in 2007 for L'amour est très surestimé (Love is Very Underestimated) and her book Jour de courage (Day of Courage) was shortlisted for the 2019 Medicis prize.

After 14 rounds of voting, the Goncourt jury chose Giraud’s book over Giuliano da Empoli’s Le Mage du Kremlin (The Wizard of the Kremlin), which has sold nearly 100,000 copies since it was published six months ago and won the Grand Prix du Roman from the Academie Française last week.

They also receive a cheque for 10 euros, which most frame and put on the wall rather than deposit at the bank.

(with AFP)

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