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A man reads the "New York Times" in Islamabad (Pakistan), in February 2019. -


The American daily

New York Times

published in its columns an edifying survey, which reveals the interpersonal skills, the many conflicts of interest and the absence of questioning of an environment operating in a vacuum, that of literary prizes. .

“The repercussions of the Matzneff affair have spread throughout France, dividing feminists and marking the apparent end of the career of a powerful deputy mayor of Paris.

However, the small world which dominates the French literary life remains largely unscathed, demonstrating to which point it is rooted and inflexible ”, writes the daily newspaper.

No changes in literary prices

The newspaper thus continues the work started around the writer Gabriel Matzneff, targeted by an investigation for rape of a minor under the age of fifteen.

In the wake of the scandal surrounding the writer, the former deputy for culture of the City of Paris, Christophe Girard, was forced to resign because of the links he had with the writer.


New York Times

published a long interview with Gabriel Matzneff but also the testimony of a 46-year-old man of Tunisian origin, who accuses Christophe Girard of having sexually assaulted him when he was 16 years old.

These revelations could have sparked transformations in the world of literary prizes, and in particular at Renaudot, which in 2013 awarded a prize to the writer accused of child criminality, even though these facts were reported in his books, known and known to all the jurors.

It is not, reports the

New York Times

 : "The jury which will choose Monday the winner of the Renaudot Prize of this year is, with a close person, the same one who praised Gabriel Matzneff in 2013."

Jurors militate for friends, books they edit

The daily stresses that in France, the jurors of the literary prizes are appointed for life, and that conflicts of interest are never singled out or prohibited by the operation of these prizes.

The comparison with the Anglo-Saxon literary prizes is sharp: “Such situations would never be tolerated for prizes such as the Booker Prize in Great Britain or the Pulitzer in America, whose composition of the juries is renewed every year and where the jurors recuse themselves in the event of a potential conflict of interest.


Jurors campaign for books they edit or friends they support, the

New York Times shows


Christian Giudicelli, member of Renaudot, is a friend of Gabriel Matzneff.

Patrick Besson, also a member of Renaudot, pleaded in favor of an author, Anne-Sophie Stefanini, who was his companion, reports the newspaper.

Only one woman among the ten jurors

“From 2010 to 2019, on average, nearly three of the 10 Renaudot jurors were linked to the publisher of the winner of the year in the" novels "category - three times the average of the other grand juries [Goncourt, le Femina and the Medici].

Over three given years, half of the jurors were published by the same publisher as that of the winner, ”adds the

New York Times


Result, underlines the daily, literary prices are undermined by the inter-self, favored by co-optation.

This year, the Renaudot jury included only one woman among the ten jurors.

“For the four grand prizes cited, or 38 jurors in total, there is only one non-white person.

The Goncourt jury has only three women.



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