Kevin Lambert won the December prize on Tuesday, becoming at 31 the youngest winner to win the prestigious award in France due to its powerful endowments.
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Quebec is rewarded for Our joy remains (Editions de Nouvelle Attila), a fictional story about the downfall of an architect accused of hounding poor people outside Montreal.
The prize was established in 1989 (under the name The November Prize) to reward a novel that had been forgotten by other fall literary prizes. But this year it comes ahead of other major awards, such as the Femina Prize, the Goncourt Prize, the Raynaudeau Prize and the Medicis Prize.
It was awarded 15 thousand euros with support from the Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent Foundation.
With his novel, a searing critique of the good conscience of those in power, published in Canada in September 2022, Kevin Lambert has sparked critical enthusiasm in France.
to’ob He praised the “splendid and harsh fresco” and the world The “skill” of the aspiring writer, thanks to which he “dizzy[s]the reader.”
But in September, its publisher sparked controversy when it revealed that the author had used the services of a Haitian-Canadian proofreader to verify the authenticity of a character of Haitian descent.
If the “sensitive reader” intervention is common in North America, it is less common in France. Former Goncourt winner Nicolas Mathieu said he refuses to “make professionals with sensitivities, experts in stereotypes, specialists in what is acceptable and bold at a given moment, the compass of our work.”
Kevin Lambert hasn’t said much on the subject. His editor relayed his notes in which the proofreader, Chloé Savoy-Bernard, “made sure that I didn’t say too much nonsense, and that I didn’t fall into certain traps of black representation.”
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