For its tenth edition, the Orange Book Prize went to Joachim Schnerf for his novel "Cette nuit", published by Éditions Zulma.
In the novel, Joachim Schnerf plunges us with humour into the intimacy of a family, hanging on the thread of the memory of a man in the dusk of his life. A book written with great sensitivity.
On Thursday 7 June, Christine Albanel, Deputy Chair of the Orange Foundation, and Erik Orsenna, a writer, member of the Académie Française and Chair of the Orange Book Prize jury, revealed the outcome of the vote by internet users and the jury for the 2018 winner.
The Orange Book Prize has been awarded since 2009 for a literary work in French, published between 1 January and 31 March of the current year. It stands out for the diversity of its voters: authors, booksellers and readers. The winner receives a prize of €15,000 and the book benefits from a promotional campaign in the press and online.
Chaired by Erik Orsenna, the jury consisted of the authors Louis-Philippe Dalembert (2017 winner), Kaouther Adimi, Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès, François-Henri Désérable, the mezzo-soprano Lea Desandre, the booksellers Sandrine Babu (L’instant book shop in the 15th Arrondissement in Paris), Samantha Sabba (FNAC store in Rosny) and seven readers from the community on the lecteurs.com site.
Among the thirty works selected by the jury in mid-March, six novels were shortlisted in early May and submitted to the public for voting from 4 to 30 May on the lecteurs.com site.
The five other finalists:
- Vincent Almendros, "Faire mouche", Minuit
- Ananda Devi, "Manger l’autre", Grasset
- Wilfried N’Sondé, "Un océan deux mers trois continents", Actes Sud
- Marc Alexandre Oho Bambe, "Diên Biên Phù", publisher Sabine Wespieser
- Florent Oiseau, "Paris-Venise", Allary Editions.
Cette nuit by Joachim Schnerf, Éditions Zulma
On the morning of Passover, the Jewish Easter, an old man recalls the very unusual night that his family re-enacts every year behind closed doors and to a full house – an extravagant and musing comedy that only the family is capable of. There is Michelle, the youngest, who flies off the handle for nothing and terrorises everybody, starting with Patrick, the very emotional father of her children. There is Denise, the overly discrete older daughter, and her husband Pinhas, who builds castles in Spain and palaces in Morocco. And, of course, Salomon, the patriarch, survivor of the camps, and his very personal sense of humour which causes him a few setbacks and considerable misunderstandings.
But, on this morning of Passover, Salomon is preparing for the first time to spend this night without his wife, the gentle and wonderful Sarah…
A novel with an irresistible charm, moving, funny and wonderfully frantic.
Joachim Schnerf was born in 1987 in Strasbourg. After studying literature and publishing in Paris and New York, he began his career at Gallimard before joining Grasset in 2016 as a foreign-literature publisher. His first novel appeared in 2014, "Mon sang à l’étude", published by Éditions de L’Olivier. He then wrote an essay on publishing, "Publier la littérature française et étrangère" (Éditions du Cercle de la Librairie, 2016), before returning to fiction with "Cette nuit" (Éditions Zulma, 2018).
Joachim Schnerf follows on from Louis-Philippe Dalembert who won in 2017 with his novel "Avant que les ombres s’effacent" (publisher Sabine Wespieser).
The previous prize winners from 2009 and 2016 are Fabrice Humbert ("L’Origine de la violence", Le Passage), Jacques Gélat ("Le Traducteur amoureux", Corti), David Thomas ("Un Silence de clairière", Albin Michel), Arthur Dreyfus ("Belle Famille", Gallimard), Emilie Frèche ("Deux étrangers", Actes Sud), Maylis de Kerangal ("Réparer les vivants", Verticales), Fanny Chiarello ("Dans son propre rôle", L’Olivier) and Vincent Message ("Défaite des maîtres et possesseurs", Le Seuil).