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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Giraud’s novel, exploring the role of chance in life, wins hearts of Chinese jury members

CultureBooksGiraud's novel, exploring the role of chance in life, wins hearts of Chinese jury members

On Tuesday, the Choix Goncourt China 2022 was awarded to French author Brigitte Giraud in Beijing. This prestigious prize is China’s choice for the 2022 Goncourt Prize and was presented to Giraud for her novel Vive Vite (Living Fast). The announcement was made during a press conference held by the French ambassador to China, Bertrand Lortholary, who assumed office on March 13.

The Prix Goncourt was first established in 1903 and is regarded as the highest literary honor in France. The award recognizes “the best and most imaginative prose of the year.” The prize is comparable to other prestigious literary awards such as the Pulitzer Prize in the United States or the Booker Prize in the United Kingdom.

The winner of the Goncourt Prize is selected by a panel of 10 members of the Goncourt Academy. Past winners include renowned authors such as Marcel Proust, Simone de Beauvoir, and Marguerite Duras. Although the prize only comes with a symbolic award of 10 euros (equivalent to 74.7 yuan), it is known to significantly boost book sales for the recipient.

Brigitte Giraud’s Vive Vite tells the story of a young girl named Lou, who is faced with the unexpected death of her mother. The novel explores themes of grief, family relationships, and the challenges of growing up. The book has received critical acclaim for its nuanced portrayal of these complex issues.

Giraud, who was born in 1960 in Sidi Bel Abbès, Algeria, has written several books, including L’Amour est très surestimé and Une année étrangère. Her writing style is known for its poetic qualities and delicate treatment of difficult subject matter.

The Choix Goncourt China is a recent addition to the Goncourt family of prizes. It was established in 2017 as part of an initiative to promote French literature in China. The prize is awarded annually to a work of fiction by a French author that has been translated into Chinese.

In recent years, China has become a significant market for French literature, with many French authors gaining popularity among Chinese readers. The Choix Goncourt China is an excellent platform for French authors to reach a wider audience and gain recognition for their work in China.

Brigitte Giraud’s win of the Choix Goncourt China 2022 is a significant achievement that highlights the quality of French literature and its growing popularity in China. Her novel, Vive Vite, is an excellent example of the type of literature that resonates with Chinese readers and showcases the beauty of the French language.

Established in 2018 by the French embassy in China, the Choix Goncourt China is the first country in Asia and the 12th in the world to select winners for the prestigious French literary prize.

The competition’s third edition featured over 100 second-year graduate and PhD students from the French departments of ten Chinese universities. These students were invited to form the jury for the Choix Goncourt China 2022 and spent months reading the eight shortlisted works before voting for their favorite title through a two-round vote.

The participation of Chinese students in the jury highlights the initiative’s goal of promoting French literature and culture in China. It also provides an excellent opportunity for French authors to reach a wider audience and gain recognition in China.

Through the Choix Goncourt China, the French embassy in China has successfully created a platform for cultural exchange and literary appreciation between the two countries. The competition has become an important event for both French and Chinese literature enthusiasts and has helped to strengthen cultural ties between the two nations.

In addition to Giraud’s Vive Vite, three other French works also made the shortlist for the Choix Goncourt China 2022. Nathan Devers’ Les Liens Artificiels (Artificial Links), Makenzy Orcel’s Une Somme Humaine (A Human Burden), and Pascale Robert-Diard’s La Petite Menteuse (The Little Liar) all impressed the jury members and captured their attention.

During the press conference held by French Ambassador to China Bertrand Lortholary, he highlighted the significance of the Choix Goncourt China as an event that showcases contemporary French culture, promotes French literature, and encourages the education of French in China.

Du Qinggang, a professor of French studies at Wuhan University and an advisor to the Choix Goncourt China, and two representatives of the student jury also participated in the conference. They shared their thoughts on Giraud’s Vive Vite and the impact of the Choix Goncourt China on French literature and culture in China.

Aside from winning the Choix Goncourt China, Brigitte Giraud’s Vive Vite also earned her the 2022 Goncourt Prize last November. Published by Flammarion, the novel tells the story of a motorcycle accident that killed her partner in 1999, and the chain of events that led to the tragedy. Through a series of “what ifs,” the novelist reflects on the role of chance in life.

Giraud’s work has received critical acclaim for its emotional depth and poignant storytelling. It offers a unique perspective on the human experience and explores the theme of grief and loss. By winning both the Choix Goncourt China and the 2022 Goncourt Prize, Giraud has cemented her place as one of the most talented contemporary French authors.

The success of the Choix Goncourt China and the recognition given to Giraud’s work have further cemented the strong cultural ties between France and China. The event has provided a platform for French literature to reach a wider audience in China, and for Chinese students to engage with contemporary French culture.

 The  Choix Goncourt China has become a significant event in the literary world, and its impact will continue to be felt in the years to come. It is a testament to the power of cultural exchange and the importance of promoting literature and education across borders.

Brigitte Giraud, the winner of the Goncourt Prize, participated in a live-streamed discussion on Wednesday alongside two jury representatives from the Choix Goncourt China 2022. The event was hosted by the French Cultural Center and provided an opportunity for Giraud to engage with her Chinese audience and discuss her award-winning work.

In addition, the French embassy announced that the Chinese version of Giraud’s novel, Vive Vite, will be published by Xiron, a Beijing-based publisher. This move will make Giraud’s work more accessible to Chinese readers and further promote the exchange of cultural and literary ideas between France and China.

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