Friday, 5 August 2011

France Month: Literary Prizes

Have you ever wondered what the French equivalent of the Booker Prize or the Miles Franklin Award is? I did, and after a little bit of research I uncovered a treasure trove of literary prizes that are awarded in France every year.

Prix Goncourt
This famous prize was won last year by Michel Houeliebecq whose name I was fortunate enough to hear pronounced before I tried to say it at a party once.

Prix Alain-Fournier
This one is for relatively unknown authors who are early in their careers.

Prix des Deux Magots
Named after the famous Parisian cafe, this award is less mainstream that the Prix Goncourt.

Prix Décembre
Awarded each December, this is award is even less mainstream that the Deux Magots prize.

Prix Femina
The judging panel are all women but the prize doesn't necessarily have to be won by a woman.

Prix de Flore
For French-language literature, awarded in the Café de flore in Paris. The prize includes a free glass of wine every day for a year, making it the most competitive literary award in France.

Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire
Like the Nebula or Hugo award, but for 'speculative fiction' rather than 'science fiction'. Snobs. 

Grand Prix du roman de l'Académie française
One of the oldest and most prestigious awards in France, it has been won by some of the heaviest-hitters in French literature.

Grand Prix de Littérature Policiére
For crime fiction, and is awarded for international writers too, past winners include Ian Rankin, Michael Connelly and Camilla Lackberg.

Prix Renaudot
Runs parallel to the Prix Goncourt and is awarded at the same time. They always have a back-up choice in case they select the same winner.

That is by no means comprehensive as the Académie française awards over 60 literary prizes itself each year. Extensive lists of winners can be found here.

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