France's top literary award goes to book on Spain's civil war
A former psychiatrist, Lydie Salvayre, on Wednesday won France's top literary prize, the Goncourt, for her book "Pas pleurer" ("Don't cry") in which she interweaves the voices of her mother and French writer Georges Bernanos during the Spanish Civil War.
Salvayre, the daughter of exiled Spanish Republican parents, beat off competition from favourites Kamel Daoud, an Algerian first-time novelist, and best-selling French author David Foenkinos to win the prize.
Born in 1948, she grew up in the southwest French city of Toulouse after her parents fled the regime of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, learning French only when she went to school.
The author of numerous books, many of her works have been adapted for the theatre and she has been translated into over 20 languages.
In keeping with a century-old tradition the award was announced on Wednesday at Paris's Drouant restaurant.
The winner of the prize receives the nominal sum of 10 euros ($12) but can expect to a sales boost of around 400,000 in what is considered a literary jackpot for authors.
Sales of Pierre Lemaitre's 2013 winner "Au revoir la-haut", a World War I epic, soared from 30,000 to 620,000, according to his publishers Albin Michel.
© 2014 AFP