Biology teacher wins France's top literary prize

2nd November 2011, Comments 0 comments

High-school biology teacher Alexis Jenni on Wednesday won France's top literary award, the Goncourt Prize, for his first novel, "L'art francais de la guerre" (The French Art of War).

The prize was announced by the Goncourt panel of literary bigwigs at the chic Drouant restaurant in Paris.

The adventure story, a reflection on the heritage of France's colonial history in Indochina and Algeria, beat stiff competition from authors including Haiti's Lyonel Trouillot.

Jenni, 48, had until now described himself as "a Sunday writer", despite having for 20 years written "small things" that stayed in drawers or didn't work.

Books that win the coveted Goncourt Prize go on to sell on average 400,000 copies.

Last year's prize was won by France's best-known living writer Michel Houellebecq, for his bestselling satire "La carte et le territoire" (The Map and the Territory).

© 2011 AFP

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