US writer Norman Mailer wins top French prize

6th March 2006, Comments 0 comments

NEW YORK, March 3, 2006 (AFP) - US writer Norman Mailer, 83, was decorated with France's highest award, the Legion of Honor, on Friday, and recalled his ties to France and love for its tongue, which he "never could master".

NEW YORK, March 3, 2006 (AFP) - US writer Norman Mailer, 83, was decorated with France's highest award, the Legion of Honor, on Friday, and recalled his ties to France and love for its tongue, which he "never could master".

The award was presented by the French ambassador to the United States, Jean-David Levitte, for Mailer's contribution to literature and for his ties to France.

"I've had an exciting relation to France all my life, from my young years in Brooklyn when I thought that Paris was the place to be," Mailer said.

He studied at the Sorbonne after World War II and loved French, "this language that I adore and was never able to master."

Mailer received the medal of Chevalier, or Knight of the Legion of Honor.

The medal is silver, with white enamelled laurel and oak wreath bearing the head of Marianne, and the legend Republique Francaise on a blue enamel ring.

Mailer, who moves with difficulty and spoke seated, quipped, "You can see I'm quite pleased to receive this award."

The biographer, reporter and author of anti-establishment and political work, championed, with Truman Capote, "creative non-fiction."

He had success as a novelist at 25 with "The Naked and the Dead."

He is one of fewer than 500 Americans to receive the award created in 1802 by Napoleon.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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