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Norman Manea Wins France's Top Literary Award for Foreign Literature
Jennifer Wai-Lan Huang
The 2006 Prix Médicis Étranger has been awarded to Bard Professor and Writer In Residence for his memoir The Hooligan’s Return
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—On Monday, October 30, 2006, Norman Manea, Francis Flournoy Professor of European Studies and Culture and writer in residence at Bard College, was announced the winner of the 2006 Prix Médicis Étranger, France’s most important prize for foreign literature, for his book, The Hooligan’s Return. Translated from Romanian, The Hooligan’s Return was published in France in August 2006 by Editions du Seuil and received widespread critical acclaim in the French press—garnering enthusiastic reviews from Le Monde, Libération, Le Figaro, La Croix, Lire, Le Point, L’Express, and others. The book won the Médicis in the first round of the vote and was also short-listed for France’s prestigious Femina Prize. Manea accepted the award at the world-famous Hôtel de Crillon in Paris.
Published to great acclaim in the U.S. by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2003, The Hooligan’s Return is a portrait of the writer that ranges from his early childhood in prewar Romania to his return there in 1997 and explores questions of repression, exile, life, and literature. The book received the 2004 Napoli Prize for foreign fiction in Italy and was on the bestseller list in Germany that same year. Named best foreign book in Spain in 2005, The Hooligan’s Return will appear in Holland in 2006 and in China, Portugal, and Poland in 2007.
The New Yorker called Manea’s memoir “evasive, conflicted, harrowed, tortuously elegiac … an extraordinary book.” Edward Hirsch writes: “Romania’s greatest living novelist weaves together three journeys, three precise moments in his life, in this subtle, exacting, obsessive and extraordinary memoir that wrenches beauty from pain and transfixes life into art. The Hooligan’s Return is a brilliant achievement.” The San Francisco Chronicle ranks Manea’s book “among the finest memoirs in a generation.”
Founded in 1958 by Gala Barbisan and Jean-Pierre Giraudoux, the Prix Médicis is a renowned French literary prize awarded each year in early November to an author “whose fame does not yet match their talent.” In 1970, the Prix Médicis Étranger, an award for foreign literature, was introduced. Among the previous foreign laureates are Milan Kundera, Umberto Eco, Julio Cortázar, Paul Auster, Jonathan Coe, Antonio Tabucchi, and Philip Roth. Last year the prize was given to Orhan Pamuk, who received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2006.
Norman Manea is the author of more than 14 volumes of fiction and essays. He has received Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellowships, and has been awarded Italy’s International Nonino Prize for Literature. His work has been translated into more than 15 languages. In the spring 2006, he was elected as a member of the Berlin Academy of Art in the literary department. He lives with his wife in New York City.
This event was last updated on 02-13-2007