He was smiling David Diop. The writer who had been refused by most of the major literary awards, fall, and eventually win, yesterday at around 13 hours, to Rennes, the most prescriber of the prize, the “Goncourt des lycéens”, for his powerful novel about the Great War, as seen through the eyes of a skirmisher senegalese who saw die before her eyes, his childhood friend. The Fnac, which came into force with its general manager, Enrique Martinez, also had a smile. For the past three years, she asked that the award be made to the Elysée palace. The occasion of the 30th anniversary of the awards has been good.

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For a time, before the coming of Emmanuel Macron, Bernard Pivot has makes fire of any wood, master of ceremony bantering, amused, too happy that the minister of Education and Youth, Jean-Michel Blanquer, serves him as “Mr. president”.

From the outset, the president of the Académie Goncourt has set the tone: “We’re going to do now, a sort of’ Apostrophe elysian. I called Erik Orsenna , Goncourt des lycéens, 1988, Luc Lang, 1998, Catherine Cusset, 2008, and David Diop, 2018.”

Before giving the floor to each other, Bernard Pivot has complained of the discomfort of the seats and then recalled that four writers have managed the double Goncourt-Goncourt des lycéens: Erik Orsenna, Jean Vautrin, Pierre Combescot, and Andrei Makine.

“We can live without writing but in writing, it is much better!”

Then turning to his friend Orsenna:”You have both of you at the time of the Goncourt of the old blokes was awarded the same day as white-nose!”. The former cultural advisor to François Mitterrand, today advisor Emmanuel Macron, who has submitted a report on the libraries (“exceptional” in the eyes of Jean-Michel Blanquer), returns a double, which dates back to 1988, a period that less than twenty years can not know. Regardless, his sense of the formula is a hit: “You can live without writing but in writing, it is much better!”.

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More seriously, who knows about Africa and the history of the Great War, says he is extremely pleased by the choice of David Diop:”a few years ago I wrote a telefilm on the Chemin des Dames and on the debt that we had with respect to the african soldiers and that we have not held.”

After the customary thanks, the winner, almost shy, is reproached by Bernard Pivot:”You’re not afraid to be a prisoner of your style so particular to the future?” David Diop replied du tac au tac:”No, because each text carries a particular entry. Like a chameleon, I’ll change the color of writing from the next book.”

Pivot also raised a question with the high school students. By voting for a novel about the Great War, were they able to be influenced by the images and comments around the celebration of the centenary of the armistice of 1918? Without disassemble, a young girl answers:”Not at all, it would not have been fair to the other books. If it had been the day of the woman, we would not have more preference for a novel about a woman”.

Bernard Pivot up out Tahar Ben Jelloun on stage. His friend of the Goncourt recalls that David Diop is also the choice of the Goncourt of the Middle East awarded by a majority of women including several of Iran, who have very little about the war, preferring to greet in the novel the concepts of friendship and loyalty. The opportunity to clarify that It tells Sarah , a book about the other finalist, Pauline Delabroy-Allard (Midnight) has been chosen by Romania, Poland and Switzerland. “I loved him,” says Orsenna much applauded by the students.

Bernard Pivot went to David Diop:”You’re going to have a busy year now. All of these bookstores, these meetings, which are waiting for you. The war, at the side, this is nothing!” David Diop assumes this busy schedule to come and rejoices: “the feedback from The readers such as those of high school students, are like so many layers of meaning that had to be added to the original text.” Pivot:”How have you lived the day of November 7, where you learned that you didn’t have the Goncourt?” Erik Orsenna intervenes and exclaims about issues of Benard Pivot:”It is so perverse that it has been ousted from the tv!”. Diop, without a dismount:”Very calmly, I assure you. Be in the final was already very good.” Pivot does not seem convinced by the answer. Jean-Michel Blanquer takes the floor:”I have the impression of reliving a Single with your false naivety Bernard Pivot!”

“Madam is late. It is, therefore, that it is going to come!”

Pivot, more seriously:”You have been a victim of the tropism on the war. We had already crowned in a short time Pierre Lemaitre, Alexis Jenni, and other…” “All of these novels did not focus on the First world War…” says David Diop. Pivot agrees:”Too much war in any case but I am glad that the students have corrected our little oddity!” Orsenna takes the opportunity to talk to his friend a new pique:”The beautiful ambiance in this jury!” The president of the Goncourt, also dry:”Because to the French Academy all goes well may be. This is not what you said to me..” The laughter broke out in the room. The high school students are having fun, without a doubt without understanding all of the “niceties” of these games. It is 19h52, the ceremony which started an hour earlier is going to be completed. David Diop was eclipsed a few minutes early for a head-to-head with the president of the Republic in a private room. Pivot concludes his brilliant delivery:”Thank you all, and thank you to the ministers. It was the 1500th issue of Apostrophes …” We are waiting for the president. Pivot: “But what is it made of?”. Orsenna lurking in the room, the amused eye, and quotes Sacha Guitry: “the Madam is late. It is, therefore, that it is going to come!”

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The president arrives followed by his wife Brigitte Macron. His first words sum up the tone for this amazing party and good-natured: “I have only one regret: it seems that I missed a Single a little bit special!” Emmanuel Macron thanked the high school students for the news of their choice, who “comes to resonate with what the nation has lived” in the past week. And then the president makes a vibrant tribute to teachers, to writers. In David Diop he was a representative of the two professionalons, as, moreover, with Erik Orsenna or Catherine Cusset. Emmanuel Macron congratulated him: “You sign up in a funny line with Maurice Genevoix who will enter the hall of fame and the writers of the Great War, the cohort intimidating. You have revisited this period with an imaginary world which is not the most classic, one of the senegalese soldiers.” And to reiterate the commitment of thousands of soldiers who came from Africa to participate in the battles of the First world War:”When our fellow citizens we say: but what are you going to do in Mali? I answer that their ancestors came for us.”

“Your French, he continued, is not that of Genevoix, Apollinaire, you make up a different rhythm, a prosody that is up to you.” The writers in the room have then enjoyed the sentences of the president. “Literature made me,” he said. “The literature may be larger than life. Its space is the imaginary. There is nothing more beautiful than the literature…the unfathomable, the unspeakable”