The 5 literary prizes to read urgently

Prix Litteraire 2021

Hot in front! Prix Goncourt, Prix de Flore, Prix Médicis, Prix Renaudot, Prix December ... As every year, autumn is synonymous with great literary prizes which rain down day after day. You do not know which winner to read first to shine in the evening or read a book in front of a fireplace? Follow the guide !

And the Prix Goncourt is awarded to… Mohamed Mbougar Sarr for The most secret memory of men

The pitch. It is difficult to sum up this ambitious novel which this year won the Grail of literary prizes. Let's try anyway. Diégane Latyr Faye, the narrator, is a young Senegalese writer. In a narrative mise en abyme, he goes in search of the Malian writer TC Elimane, alias Yambo Ouologuem . You follow ? We continue. The reason why the narrator investigates Yambo Oulologuem is simple: this writer nicknamed “ the Negro Rimbaud ”, first praised and then suspected of plagiarism, fell out of favor after winning a Renaudot Prize in 1938. What happened to this author since ? What has happened in his life? Through the investigation of Diégane Latyr Faye, Mohamed Mbougar Sarr evokes French and international literature to make them a pretty declaration of love.

For who ? Unlike The Anomaly by Hervé Le Tellier (winner of the Goncourt 2020), this novel, less mainstream, is particularly aimed at fans of great literature and contemplative novels. Compared to the great Chilean writer Roberto Bolano , the 31-year-old Senegalese winner stands out for the political scope of his book and for his sensual and sometimes funny pen.

Admittedly, this novel is praised (rightly) by the critics since its release. Go your way, however, if you are looking for a less cerebral novel or a book with a plot full of twists and turns.

The most secret memory of the men of Mohamed Mbougar Sarr - Ed Philippe Rey (22 €)

And the Flore Prize is awarded to… Abel Quentin for Le Seer d'Etampes

The pitch. Divorced, alcoholic, insomniac, a bit sour and just retired, Jean Roscoff, a former academic, sets out to write a book on Robert Wislow, a dead and forgotten black American poet. Very quickly, the book found itself the victim of a flood of negative reviews. Yet full of good intentions, this sixty-year-old boomer struggles to understand the lawsuit brought against him. Where did this former SOS Racism man sin for the supporters of wokism ?

Who is it for ? This novel, fairly universal and deeply rooted in current affairs, should speak to as many people as possible. After Sister , a first novel about a teenage girl losing her bearings, the author presents us this time with an anti-hero nostalgic for the militant fights of her youth and slightly has-been on the evolution of society. Spoiler: You'll find at least one character to identify with in this squeaky novel that questions political correctness in a society where it's hard to find a place.

The Seer of Etampes by Abel Quentin - Ed de l'Observatoire (20 €)

And the Renaudot Prize is awarded to… Amélie Nothomb for Premier sang

The pitch. With a father who died in a mine clearance accident, a careless mother but loving grandparents, Patrick Nothomb grows up somehow in a life whose meaning escapes him sometimes. Having just become a Belgian consul in the Congo , the man, who became a father, saw his life take on a very special taste following an uncontrollable event ...

For who ? Everybody ! It's hard not to appreciate the language and the story of this prolific writer in this very special fictional autobiography where Amélie Nothomb manages to slip into the skin of her own father. A fluid pen, a sensitive and moving story about an admired father, elegant humor, gripping twists… A pretty novel to put into everyone's hands.

First blood of Amélie Nothomb - Ed Albin Michel (€ 17.90)

And the Medici Prize is awarded to… Christine Angot for Le voyage dans l'Est

The pitch. More than twenty years after the publication of Incest , the author continues to dismantle the mechanism of this indelible crime. Make no mistake about it: if we may, during the first pages, have the impression of having already read this book, the following shifts our gaze to the same facts.

When she meets her father, the fourteen-year-old narrator is first dazzled by this brilliant man she admires. But while he shows himself more and more libidinous, the young woman, trapped in the clutches of the predator, begins to die out slowly in general indifference. How do you get out of the silence when adults don't ask you questions?

For who ? We recommend this book to unconditional fans of the writer or to those who wish to discover her for the first time in this concentrate of talent. Articulated around the jaws of the grip , written with a scalpel: this text on the weight of silence is certainly the most powerful ever written by Christine Angot , at a time when tongues are loosening more and more on sexual violence .

The trip to the East by Christine Angot - Ed Flammarion (€ 19.50)

And the December Prize is awarded to… Xavier Galmiche for Le Poulailler métaphysique

The pitch. This is the story of a teacher who breeds poultry in the Paris region. Because he decided to get closer to nature and to build a henhouse to meet his food needs, the reader follows the setbacks of this city dweller confronted for the first time in the countryside. The scenes are linked, sometimes told from the point of view of the hens who wonder about metaphysical questions of the highest importance.

For who ? For those who like intelligent, original, funny and philosophical books. Don't be fooled by the obscure title of the novel and trust us: this novel isn't all about vague barnyard stories. The reflections of the farmer narrator invite the reader to question his own humanity and to take height in our sometimes absurd world.

The advantage of the December Prize funded by the Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent foundation ? By rising since 1989 as “ the anti-Goncourt ”, it allows us to discover the forgotten of the great prices of autumn by dissecting the works of the small publishing houses or the books of first novelists.

Xavier Galmiche's Metaphysical Chicken Coop - Ed Le Pommier (€ 15)


Also discover the literary prescription for autumn and the book that the fashionsphere is snapping up .

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