No lover is allowed at the first price of the French book after the ethics scandal
France’s biggest literary prize, the Goncourt, will no longer allow the candidacy of lovers and family members of the jury, it was announced Tuesday, following a scandal last month.
It was revealed in September that one of the jury members, Camille Laurens, was the girlfriend of the philosopher François Noudelmann, who was shortlisted for his memoir “Les Enfants de Cadillac” (“The Children of Cadillac”).
Not only that, but it emerged that she had written a scathing review in Le Monde of one of her prize contenders, “The Postcard,” shortly after the shortlist was announced.
At the time, the Académie Goncourt defended its decision to include Noudelmann’s book, saying they had discussed the relationship and decided it was “not a reason to penalize a good book.”
But they have since backed down, announcing a new rule which states: “The work of spouses, partners or close family cannot be taken into account”.
They also specified that: “The members of the jury who occupy a literary position in the media must refrain from writing about the works of the selection.
The disgust of Laurens’ criticism in Le Monde was already clear last month, with Didier Decoin, president of the Goncourt Academy, declaring on France Inter: “I didn’t like that at all. And we’ll talk about it again.”
Laurens was not taken off the jury, but it will be the punishment for anyone breaking the rules in the future, the academy said.
Noudelmann paid the price, however, as his book was taken off the shortlist.
The winner of the remaining nine books will be announced on November 3.
They only get 10 euros, but a lot of publicity.
© 2021 AFP