The jury for France’s biggest literary prize, Le Goncourt, got embroiled in an ethical dispute after the preselection included a book by the boyfriend of one of the judges.
The same judge wrote a scathing review of one of the other award nominees after her nomination.
“The literary awards season has barely started and already the first selection for Goncourt seems mired in a conflict of interest,” France Inter radio reported. He specified that the member of the jury, Camille Laurens, was the girlfriend of François Noudelmann, a philosopher shortlisted at Goncourt for his memoir Les Enfants de Cadillac.
The president of the Goncourt Academy, Didier Decoin, told France Inter: “We felt that this was not a reason to penalize a good book. “
The secretary of the academy, Philippe Claudel, told AFP that several members of the jury liked the book before discovering the relationship. They had voted on the issue and decided there was nothing wrong with including friends and family in the selection, he said.
However, he said Laurens’ scathing criticism in Anne Berest’s Le Monde de La Carte Postale was a flagrant violation of the Goncourt rules. The review was published this month, shortly after the book was shortlisted for Le Goncourt.
“I didn’t like it at all. And we’ll talk about it, ”Decoin told France Inter.
The 10-person jury will announce this year’s winner on November 3.