Former psychiatrist Lydie Salvaire has won France’s top literary prize, the Goncourt, with Pas pleurer (Don’t Cry) a novel that mixes her mother’s account of the Spanish civil war with that of right-wing writer Georges Bernanos, reports RFI.
Salvaire beat the favourites, Algerian first-time novelist Kamel Daoud’s Meursault contre-enquête (Meursault, the counter-inquiry) and best-selling author David Foenkinos’s Charlotte, with six of the nine votes of the Académie Goncourt, which awards the prize.
Foenkinos won the Renaudot, also announced on Wednesday, with Charlotte, a tribute to a young artist, Charlotte Salomon, who was killed at Auschwitz in 1943.
Salvaire, 66, the daughter of Spanish Republican refugees, learnt French at school and from books, her first language being Spanish.
Her book records the civil-war experiences of her mother, Montse, a whole-hearted supporter of the libertarian revolution in Catalonia at the age of 15.