Canadian and Irish writers win top French prizes

30th October 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Oct 30, 2006 (AFP) - Nancy Huston, a Canadian-born author who writes mostly in French, and the Irish novelist Nuala O'Faolain on Monday became the latest literary figures from the English-speaking world to garner accolades in France.

PARIS, Oct 30, 2006 (AFP) - Nancy Huston, a Canadian-born author who writes mostly in French, and the Irish novelist Nuala O'Faolain on Monday became the latest literary figures from the English-speaking world to garner accolades in France.

Another top French book award went to Norman Manea, a 70-year-old Romanian Jewish novelist who lives in New York.

The flurry of announcements came just a week before the award of the top French literary prize, the Goncourt, for which an American writer who has written his first novel in French is considered a hot favourite.

Huston and O'Faolain both won Femina awards, which are so called because the prize jury is made up only of women, although writers of both sexes are eligible.

Huston, a 53-year-old native of the Canadian city of Calgary who has spent most of her adult life in France and is much better known here than at home, was awarded the main Femina for her latest novel "Lignes de Faille" (Faultlines).

It tells the story of a family through the eyes of four six-year-old children, from successive generations.

The novel, set between World War II and the end of the 20th century, ranges through North America, Israel and Europe, with the decisions made by one generation being visited on the next.

O'Faolain, 64, won the Femina Prize for the best non-French novel for "The Story of Chicago May," a fictionalised biography of an Irish girl who ran away from home and then emigrated to America in the late 19th century, becoming a colourful prostitute and gangster who described herself as "the queen of crooks."

The writer, who published "Chicago May" in 2005, presents her heroine as a symbol of the sufferings of Irishwomen.

Monday also saw the announcement of the Medici book prizes, awarded by a separate jury.

Norman Manea, who was thrown into a concentration camp while Romania was ruled by fascists during World War II and was later pushed into exile by the Communist regime, won the Medici for the best non-French book for his "Hooligan's Return - A Memoir".

It tells the story of his return to his homeland following the fall of Communism.

The main Medici Prize was awarded to a Tunisian-born writer and journalist, Sorj Chalandon, for his novel "La Promesse" (The Promise). Chalandon is a veteran reporter for the French left-wing daily Liberation, and has notably written about the conflict in Northern Ireland.

The Goncourt Prize, the country's top literary award, is due to be announced on November 6.

Jonathan Littell, an American whose French-language work "Les Bienveillantes" -- The Well-Meaning Ones -- has been the most talked about novel in France in the past month, is seen as a favourite.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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