The Frenchwoman is the first author to receive the most prestigious French-language literary prize since “Sweet Song” by Leïla Slimani in 2016, and the 13th woman to be awarded since the creation of Goncourt 120 years ago.
She won in the 14th round of a very close vote against Giuliano da Empoli, thanks to the vote of President Didier Decoin who counts double, and thus succeeds the Senegalese Mohamed Mbougar Sarr. The Académie Goncourt has chosen an author little known to the general public and not accustomed to large sales figures, thus pursuing a certain revival.
Lyonnaise, native of Algeria, Brigitte Giraud has written a dozen books, novels, essays or short stories.
She obtained the Goncourt of the new 2007 for the collection “Love is very overestimated”. In 2019, she was a finalist for the Prix Médicis for “Jour de courage”.
By choosing “Vivre Vite”, the Goncourt jurors chose a sober and sensitive story, which was immediately well received by critics.
The author is inspired by the drama of her life, on June 22, 1999 in Lyon, when her husband Claude starts too quickly at a traffic light, with an overly powerful motorcycle which is not his, and falls. He won’t recover.
Long favorite, Giuliano da Empoli, 49, who published “Le Mage du Kremlin” in April (Gallimard editions), will finally have to settle for the Grand Prix du roman de l’Académie française, which he won at the end of October.
Again present in the final, the flourishing Haitian literature once again sees the Goncourt escape it, Makenzy Orcel (“A human sum” at Rivages) failing to impose itself.
No more than Cloé Korman, author and pen of the speeches of the Minister of National Education, Pap Ndiaye, who would compete with “The Almost Sisters”, published by Seuil.
For his part, the Renaudot prize – awarded just after the Goncourt in the same restaurant in the Opéra district in Paris – was awarded to Simon Liberati for “Performance”, on a septuagenarian writer who reconnects with the sacred fire in writing a script about the Rolling Stones, and has a relationship with a woman nearly 50 years younger than him.
He obtained 6 votes among the members of the jury.
Literary prizes, which often inspire French people wishing to discover or offer a novel at the end of the year, are a crucial economic issue. Le Goncourt in particular guarantees hundreds of thousands of sales.
And as tradition dictates, Brigitte Giraud also leaves with a check for ten euros, which the beneficiaries in general prefer to frame rather than deposit it in the bank.