The Académie Goncourt announced that it had adopted a rule on Tuesday (October 5th) making “the works of the spouses, companions or close relatives of the members of the jury” ineligible for its prize. Adopted unanimously, this new rule, which obliges the jurors to reveal such a close bond under penalty of exclusion, is the result of the revelation of the links between François Noudelmann, retained in the first selection, and his companion Camille Laurens , member of the Academy.
The book in question, Les Enfants de Cadillac, was therefore excluded from the second selection of the Prix Goncourt, the rule taking effect immediately. Another rule was also unanimously adopted on Tuesday: “Members of the jury who write a literary column in a media refrain from reviewing the works that appear in the selection as long as those works are there. ”
Here again, Camille Laurens had been at the heart of the controversy after having signed in September in Le Monde a severe review of another book from the first selection, The Postcard by Anne Berest.
The Academy intends to appease the critics
For the Academy, the goal is to “respect the secrecy of the vote”. As its president Didier Decoin and its secretary Philippe Claudel suggested, the jury of the most prestigious French literary prize acted quickly to appease the criticisms on the opacity of its procedures and the conflicts of interest.
The second selection unveiled Tuesday, with nine titles, shows two eliminations that contrast with the enthusiasm of literary criticism and readers, that of Feu by Maria Pourchet and Au Printemps des monstres by Philippe Jaenada. Unusually at this stage, it no longer includes a book from the Gallimard editions, which won it in 2020 with L’Anomalie by Hervé Le Tellier.