The Grand Prix du roman de l’Académie française was awarded, Thursday, October 28, to François-Henri Désrable, with My master and my conqueror, published by Gallimard editions. The young 34-year-old novelist signs the story – stuffed with literate references – of a love that ends badly.
A native of Amiens, he was first a professional hockey player, while devoting himself to writing. “I started writing when I was 18 after reading Belle of the Lord. Albert Cohen won the Grand Prix du roman in 1968. So I’m happy ”, said the winner after the award was announced.
The French Academy had already awarded him the Amic Prize in 2013 for You will show my face to the people, portraits of characters from the French Revolution in their last moments before being guillotined.
The decision was made in the third round, with ten votes against nine for Gilles Martin-Chauffier, author of the Last Tribun, recounting the fictitious memoirs of an Athenian in the Rome of Julius Caesar, published by Grasset. The other finalist was Senegalese Mohamed Mbougar Sarr, with The Most Secret Memory of Men, novel published by Philippe Rey, still in the running for the Goncourt Prize on November 3.
The finalists were present at the French Academy even though they knew the result of the election. “The Academy is very sensitive to this brotherly gesture”, said perpetual secretary Hélène Carrère d’Encausse. François-Henri Désrable felt that they “Deserved this award as much as [lui] ».