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Leila Slimani and Yasmina Reza win Goncourt and Renaudot Prizes

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On November 3 at noon was revealed the annual Goncourt and Renaudot Prizes.

Both Prizes jury members were in attendance and nominated writers showed up near the famous Drouant restaurant where jurors gather every month.

Near but not quite there exactly: close enough to be able to join the party after finding a way trough almost a hundred journalists, but far enough to avoid being spotted by the medias in case you don’t win, and don’t get to add a red ribbon to your book mentionning “Goncourt 2016” or “Renaudot 2016”.

This year, Leïla Slimani wins Goncourt with Chanson Douce (Gallimard ed.), and Yasmina Reza wins Renaudot with Babylone (Flammarion ed.).

Leila Slimani helped by Academies secretary Marie Dabadie. Publisher Antoine Gallimard follows.
Leïla Slimani helped by Academies secretary Marie Dabadie. Publisher Antoine Gallimard follows.

As many noticed, the two prizes this year were female writers (“writresses”?) and from ethnic minorities.  In other words, the French language this past year has been used with better talent by two women whose close ancestry (one or two generation from them) did or does not even speak French* than two men whose families have been speaking French forever !  This is a major switch in the world of French litterature and society.

Jury members Paule Constant, Françoise Chandernagor, Jury President Bernard Pivot (answering questions), Leila Slimani
Jury members Paule Constant, Françoise Chandernagor, Jury President Bernard Pivot (answering questions), Leïla Slimani

After many interviews, Ms. Slimani sat down with Goncourt Academy jury to enjoy a well-deserved late lunch catered by Drouant on site, preceded by Ms. Reza who showed up earlier and left within ten minutes, answered some journalists questions on her way to another restaurant on the other side of the street and was mostly perceived as elusive.

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Yasmina Reza during an interview

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*Leïla Slimani being of Algerian and French descent, and Yasmina Reza of Persian and Hungarian-Jewish descent.

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