Today was the big day. The 24 jury members selected to determine this year's Prix du Livre were announced. I missed it, of course, because it happened on France Inter between 7 and 10 am this morning (that would be between 11 pm and 2 am here in Seattle), but I watched the video on the website.
Unfortunately, my dream of one day being a member of the jury - selected from among the reading public who listen to France Inter, which is kind of like NPR, - was once again left unfulfilled. The thing is, you have to write a lettre de motivation in order to be considered, and I only think about doing this on the day the lucky winners are announced. I noticed one of the heureux élus is from Belgium, which suggests that all francophones, wherever they happen to live, may apply.
I love listening to the names as they are announced - 12 men and 12 women - along with the person's age, profession and domicile.
Among the women, the age range is 52 to 23. The oldest female member is a nurse and the youngest is a student. There is a police officer, two teachers, a college professor, a bank manager, an illustrator, a sales assistant, a researcher in microbiology, a director of an organization for the disabled and - my favorite - a truck driver. Only one is from Paris - the police officer - and only one lives outside France (the student, who is in Brussels); the others are from all over the place, from the town of Landudel in the Finistère (western tip of Brittany) to the city of Grenoble in the Isère (southeast, close to Italy).
As for the men, the age range is 62 to 27. Two men are 62, and both are retired. The 27 year old is in the science field. There's a games designer, a police officer, a teacher, a train station master, a civil servant (in maritime affairs), a couple of business owners (a communications and publishing company and an art film house), a history professor and an IT engineer. They too come from all over France.
And these are the books they will read and consider for the big door prize.
- Nous autres / Stéphane Audeguy (Gallimard)
- D’autres vies que la mienne / Emmanuel Carrère (P.O.L)
- Traques / Frédérique Clémençon (L’Olivier)
- Equatoria / Patrick Deville (Seuil)
- Zone / Mathias Enard (Actes Sud)
- Lacrimosa / Regis Jauffret (Gallimard)
- Trois Hommes seuls / Christian Oster (Minuit)
- Un Chien mort après lui / Jean Rolin (P.O.L)
- Un Chasseur de lions / Olivier Rolin (Seuil)
- Paris-Brest / Tanguy Viel (Minuit)
I have heard of a couple of these authors and read none of the books. What I like about this literary prize is that it is bestowed by a group of readers, selected on the basis of a letter they write about their relationship to books and reading. They are not authors or critics or professors of literature. They just love la chose littéraire; le mot imprimé.
Okay, next year I am going to submit my own letter. Better get started now. I'll pay my own way to Paris for the meeting.