French minister bestows honors on Americans

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French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand on Sunday bestowed French state honors on prominent US and other cultural figures, including writers James Ellroy and Alain Mabanckou as well as actress Eva Marie-Saint.

Congolese author Mabanckou, who teaches literature at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA), received the French Legion of Honor.

In his remarks, Mitterrand pointed to Mabanckou's "rare talent" and his "sublime ability to mix irony and poetry."

The writer said that at UCLA, he was trying to make his students understand that "French is one of the most beautiful languages in the world."

Ellroy, author of "L.A. Confidential," was given the Order of Arts and Letters.

Referring to him as "the master of dark dreams," Mitterrand said the author was "one of the most prominent names in modern literature."

The minister said that actress Marie-Saint, who also received the Order of Arts and Letters, had brought to cinema "magnificent light and a lot of poetry."

© 2011 AFP

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