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Curfew at 9 p.m., dinner tables reduced to six people, deliberations by video conference: the juries adapt to the literary prize season.
Crève-coeur for the jurors who award the Interallié prize: they have given up the libations which were to allow them a second selection of novels. Because these times of pandemic are hard, for all literary juries.
The Interallié seeks a solution
"Due to the rules installed with the health crisis in restaurants, the jury will not be able to meet tomorrow", announced on October 12 the spokesperson for the Interallié prize.
This exclusively male jury did not see itself, for the moment, functioning differently than usual: a good table, and deliberations which could last late in the evening, around a bottle.
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The situation has worsened since then. While it was already forbidden to have more than six at the table, now the curfew requires having finished at 9 p.m., in addition. There will be a selection of finalists on November 12, to award the prize on the 18th, according to terms yet to be determined.
Two tables for the Femina
Their colleagues from the Femina, an exclusively female jury, say they are doing good heart against bad luck. "There are six of us around one table and six around another, even if at the moment that is not necessarily essential because there are some absent. Otherwise we do that in a private apartment", confides to AFP the secretary Anne de Caumont.
For the award ceremony on November 3, "people will have to be seated and remain seated. We will no longer have people standing or holding microphones. We adapt, because our cultural life must be above all, continue ".
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Le Goncourt by videoconference
The solution can also lie in new technologies ... to the detriment of a certain user-friendliness, of course. This is what the academicians of Goncourt are trying.
"Tuesday, in order to avoid the travel of several of them who do not live in Ile-de-France, they will meet by videoconference as has been the case several times during confinement", explains to the AFP their secretary Françoise Rossinot.
The most prestigious French literary prize had already announced in September that it was abandoning the crush of the Goncourt salon at the Drouant restaurant for its 2020 edition. Deliberations now take place in a larger salon at the same facility, and the winner, on November 10, must be announced from the balcony.
The jury of the other prize awarded the same day, the Renaudot, affirms that it continues so far without too much disturbance, but that on D-day, it could exceptionally meet in a smaller committee than its current eight jurors. "Between the selection meetings we communicate by email and phone. So nothing but very usual, except that some jurors are for the time being retained outside Paris. If necessary they will vote by phone on November 10," says the president of the jury , Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud.
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Hydroalcoholic gel, mask and reduced audience
Same thing at the Medici, awarded on November 6. "We exchange a lot by collective emails on this subject and precisely we will meet by videoconference on Monday evening to discuss the measures we will take," Marie Darrieusecq, who holds the rotating presidency of the jury, told AFP.
The French Academy, to award its own prize on October 29, had to drastically reduce its guest list under the dome. "The proclamation of the Grand Prix du roman will not take, this year, traditional forms and will only take place in the presence of a small audience," reads its invitation card.
And for the prizes already awarded, it was not really time to celebrate: distancing, hydroalcoholic gel and masks ...
On the photo of the 2020 Landerneau readers' prize, awarded in mid-October, the winner Lola Lafon ("Chavirer", Actes Sud) is immortalized with this mask just like the presidents of the jury by his side, the novelist Karine Tuil and the entrepreneur Edouard Leclerc.
Same thing for the Gulli prize for children's novel, won by Timothée de Fombelle (Alma, le vent se lève). "Masked, from a distance, we nonetheless exchanged with passion, depth and lightness", underlined the president of the jury, Michelle Reiser.
Serge Joncour wins the Femina prize for the French novel .
© THOMAS BREGARDIS / OUEST-FRANCE The writer Serge Joncour won the Femina prize for the French novel with his book "Human Nature". This is one of the only literary prizes to be awarded this year, in the context of the pandemic and the closure of bookstores in France. Serge Joncour, with “Human Nature”, won the Femina prize for the French novel on Monday, while most of the other literary awards have postponed their edition pending the reopening of bookstores.