The Lebanese author Sharif Majdalani was awarded Monday the "Special Jury Prize" for "Beirut 2020", published by Actes Sud, within the framework of the Femina prize for French novels.
Certainly, it is Serge Joncour, with “Human Nature”, who won the Femina 2020 prize. But for us, what we remember from this edition is that the special jury prize was awarded to Beirut 2020, by Lebanese author Charif Majdalani, published by Actes Sud editions.
Where most of the other literary awards have postponed their edition while waiting for the reopening of bookshops, the Femina prize, whose jury is composed solely of women, was indeed awarded.
August’s catastrophe as a catalyst
Where the winner, Serge Joncour, proposes a rural novel that depicts the evolution of France at the end of the 20th century, through the journey of a family of farmers in the Southwest, the Lebanese author particularly touched the jury through his work “Beirut 2020, Diary of a Collapse”.
It is a chronicle written in a Lebanon that has been plagued for more than a year by a severe economic and financial crisis, and which suffered, on August 4, a double explosion that destroyed the port as well as many neighborhoods of the capital.
The Femina prize for foreign novels was awarded to the British South African Deborah Levy for her autobiographical diptych composed of “The Cost of Living” and “What I don’t want to know”, both published by Editions du sous-sol. As for Christophe Granger, author of “Joseph Kabris ou les possibilités d’une vie” (Anamosa), he won the prize for best essay.