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Prix Goncourt

From Academic Kids

The Prix Goncourt is the most prestigious prize in French language literature, given to the author of "the best imaginary prose work of the year".

Edmond de Goncourt, a successful author, critic, and publisher, bequeathed his entire estate for the foundation and maintenance of the Académie Goncourt. In honour of his brother and collaborator, Jules Alfred Huot de Goncourt, (1830-1870), the Académie has awarded the Prix Goncourt every December since 1903. The jury that determines the winner meets at the Drouant restaurant to make its decision. The award, though nominal, ensures the winner celebrity status and a boost in sales.

The award may only be given to an author once, and has never been given to an author twice except in one case. Romain Gary won it in 1956 for Les racines du ciel, and then won it again under the pseudonym Emile Ajar in 1975 for La vie devant soi.

A few of the authors who have won the prize are: Marcel Proust, Jean Fayard, Simone de Beauvoir, Georges Duhamel, Alphonse de Chateaubriand, Antonine Maillet.

Some decisions for awarding the prize were controversial, the most famous case being the decision to award the prize 1919 to Marcel Proust; this was met with indignation, since many in the public felt that the prize should have gone to Roland Dorgelès for Les Croix de bois, a novel about the First World War, for the following reasons:

  • the prize was supposed to be awarded to promising young authors, whereas Proust was 48;
  • this was immediately after the end of the war, where Dorgelès had fought, whereas Proust had been deemed unfit for service for medical reasons (he had asthma).

The 1932 prize was also controversial for passing up Céline, and the voting process became the basis of the 1992 book Goncourt 32 by Eugène Saccomano.

Prize winners

Related articles

List of prizes, medals, and awardsda:Goncourtprisen de:Prix Goncourt es:Premio Goncourt eo:Premio Goncourt fr:Prix Goncourt it:Premio Goncourt nl:Prix Goncourt pl:Nagroda Goncourt zh:龚古尔文学奖

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