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Enard's Zone wins Le prix du Livre Inter 2009

Mathias Enard’s Zone, which Open Letter is proud to be publishing next May, has won Le prix du Livre Inter 2009. The prize is awarded by France Inter, which is a public radio station in France (their podcasts are great if you’re trying to learn French!). It’s a unique prize: France Inter invites 24 listeners (among them students, illustrators, microbiology researchers, and former police captains from all over France) to serve as judges for the prize, and they’re helped along by an author. So it really is a “people’s prize”, but one in which the listeners serve as a jury, not just as one of thousands of voters.

If you want to know more about the history of the prize, and this year’s shortlist, click here.

So here’s the French press release, which I’ve done my best to render in English below (take it easy on me, I’m learning):

Le prix du Livre Inter 2009 a été attribué à “Zone” de Mathias Enard (éditions Actes Sud), une prouesse stylistique qui repose sur un longmonologue évoquant les guerres du bassin méditerranéen et des Balkans, aannoncé lundi France Inter.

Le jury du Livre Inter, composé de 24 auditeurs et présidé par l‘écrivain Marc Dugain (auteur notamment de “La chambre des officiers”), a élu Mathias Enard au troisième tour du scrutin, précise la radio publique dans un communiqué.

Troisième roman de Mathias Enard, “Zone” a été déjà récompensé par le prix Décembre 2008.

L’ouvrage est un “roman ferroviaire” construit sur un monologue de 500 pages composé d’une seule phrase entrecoupée de chapitres qui sont, eux, ponctués classiquement, explique France Inter.

Dans un train de nuit pour Rome, un ancien espion et ancien militaire fait défiler ses souvenirs de la zone où il exerça ses activités, le pourtour dela Méditerranée: guerres balkaniques, violences en Algérie, guerres du Proche-Orient…

Né en 1972 à Niort, Mathias Enard enseigne actuellement l’arabe à l’université de Barcelone. Son premier roman, “La perfection du tir”, paru en 2003 chez Actes Sud, a reçu le prix des Cinq continents de la francophonie. Il a ensuite publié “Remonter l’Orénoque” (Actes Sud) en 2005, puis un essai, “Bréviaire des artificiers” (Verticales) en 2007. Il anime plusieurs revues culturelles dont la revue “Inculte”. Mathias Enard a été pensionnaire de la Villa Médicis à Rome en 2005-2006.

The prix du Livre Inter 2009 was awarded to Zone by Mathias Enard (published by Actes Sud), a stylistic feat that relies on a long monologue to evoke the wars of the Mediterranean basin and the Balkans, France Inter announced Monday.

Livre Inter’s jury, which is composed of 24 listeners and is presided over by Marc Dugain (author of “Le chambre des officiers”), selected Mathias Enard after three rounds of voting, according to a press release from the station.

Enard’s third novel, Zone has already received the prix de Décembre 2008.

A ‘train novel’, the book consists of a 500 page monologue, composed as a single sentence, that is interrupted by chapters that are traditionally punctuated, explains France Inter.

On a night train to Rome, a retired spy and soldier reveals his memories of the places where he plied his trade, the perimeter of the Mediterranean: Balkan wars, violence in Algeria, wars in the near-East…

Born in 1972 in Niort, Mathias Enard teaches Arabic at the University of Barcelona. His first novel, “La perfection du tir”, was published by Actes Sud in 2003 and won the prix des Cinq continents de la francophonie. He followed this with “Remonter l’Orenoque in 2005, and with an essay, “Bréviaire des artificiers” in 2007. He has also published numerous cultural reviews in the journal “Inculte”. Mathias Enard was a resident of the Villa Médicis in Rome in 2005-2006.

If you have a little French, this video is pretty cool. It shows the final tallying of the votes that ended up with Zone winning, and then ‘by a miracle of transport’, Énard shows up an hour later to thank everyone for selecting his book. It’s not often that you get to see the inside of this process.


Prix du Livre Inter 2009
Uploaded by franceinter. – Watch the latest news videos.

This video is of the announcement of the prize on France Inter:


Mathias Enard – Prix du Livre Inter 2009
Uploaded by franceinter. – Watch the latest news videos.



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