Veronesi wins French book prize
Italian author Sandro Veronesi and French writer Jean-Louis Fournier win France’s prestigious Femina prizes.
4 November 2008
PARIS - Italy's Sandro Veronesi won France's Femina prize for best foreign author Monday, while Jean-Louis Fournier won the French writer's prize with a book about handicapped children.
Veronesi was awarded the prize for his 2005 best-seller "Caos calmo" (Quiet Chaos), which was turned into a movie screened at European film festivals in 2008 and about to open in theatres across the continent.
In the book, which won Italy's Strega prize, a television network executive -- played by Nanni Moretti in the movie -- responds to the death of his wife by spending his days in a park, waiting for his daughter outside of her school.
On receiving the prize, Veronesi, 49, spoke of fellow Italian writer Roberto Saviano, the author of a best-selling mafia expose, "Gomorrah".
Saviano, whose book was made into a film that won a Cannes film festival prize in 2008 and may earn an Oscar, lived under police protection for two years.
"I'm thinking of this 28-year-old who's been sentenced to death. He's a symbol for us all, he's touched the sick heart of our society," said Veronesi.
Fournier, age 69, won the Femina for "Ou on va, papa?" (Where are we going, Dad), a 150-page book written to his two handicapped children, Mathieu and Thomas.
Through brief scenes and anecdotes, he recounts the birth of the children, the parents’ challenges, and the happy moments that "made the stay bearable".
The book, already a best-seller in French bookshops, was also shortlisted for the country's top literary prize, the Goncourt, to be announced 10 November.
"It's the children in a way who've won the prize, they who never had anything," Fournier said, adding that he received several emotional letters each day from readers.
France's book awards season opened in late October with the French Academy award won by writer-diplomat Marc Bressent for "La derniere conference" (The Last Conference).
After the Femina is the Medicis award on Wednesday, to be followed by the Goncourt and the Renaudot later in November.
[AFP / Expatica]