26 October 2013 Frédéric Verger wins the Goncourts’ List: Polish Choice Prize

Frédéric Verger was awarded with the Goncourts’ List: Polish Choice Prize 2013 for his novel ARDEN (released by Gallimard). For the sixteenth time, a jury comprised of students representing twelve Polish universities has met in the offices of the French Institute in Krakow and debated on the selection of this year’s winner of this prestigious award.

This year, the Polish jury was chaired by Sonia Draga, the President of Sonia Draga publishing house; and worked in the presence of Tahar Ben Jelloun, a member of the French Goncourt Academy. The name of this year’s winner was announced today (Saturday, the 26th of October), in the early afternoon, after the traditional Goncourt dinner party held in Cyrano de Bergerac restaurant in Krakow, at a press conference organised within the framework of Conrad Festival, in the presence of Joy Sorman, who won the prize in 2012 for her novel Comme une bête (Polish edition was released by Sonia Draga publishing house).

The jury’s justification reads “Frédéric Verger’s book Arden tells a story set during World War II in the fictional kingdom of Marsovia. Two friends, composers, share a common goal: to write and stage an operetta that they have been planning for a long time. They come across such obstacles as a difference in opinion, war repressions from the Nazis and forbidden love.

The winning title chosen unanimously by the jury of Goncourts’ List: Polish choice delights with richness and freshness of its language. Despite the seriousness of the subject matter, the book bewitches its readers with optimism and humour. The fact that the novel is set in a fictional country which may bear some resemblance to the Polish realities of that period spices the work up. The maturity of this literary debut also deserves particular attention.

We would like to remind you that the Goncourts' List: Polish Choice Prize was initiated by the French Institute in Krakow in 1998 and the event is held under the auspices of the Goncourt Academy. The French Goncourt Prize is one of the most important awards within the field of French literature.

Picture: Jean-Baptiste Millot