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The Choix Goncourt UK


The Prix Goncourt is a prize in French literature, given by the académie Goncourt to the author of "the best and most imaginative prose work of the year".


The academy was constituted in 1903 and is composed of a ten-member board.

Membership is reserved to writers who have produced works in the French language, but it is not limited to citizens of France. In 1996, the Spanish novelist and scriptwriter Jorge Semprún was elected as the first foreigner to become a member of the academy.


Currently the academy is composed of:


The ten members of the academy are usually called les Dix (the Ten). They meet the first Tuesday of each month, except in summer. Since 1914, they have convened in an oval room, the salon Goncourt, on the second floor of the Restaurant Drouant place Gaillon, in the heart of Paris. The cutlery which they use while dining there constitutes the main physical continuity of the academy. Each new member receives the fork and knife of the member whom he (or she) is replacing, and the member's name is engraved on the knife and the fork.


In September of each year, the list of novels which might be awarded the prize is released.

The winner is announced in November.


In 2018, Nicolas Mathieu won the Goncourt prize for “Leurs enfants après eux ».


In september 2019, the final list comprised of the following novels:



Tous les hommes n'habitent pas le monde de la même façon by Jean-Paul Dubois was awarded the prize on the 4th of November.


Universities around the world are then invited to participate in the Choix Goncourt.

The Choix Goncourt UK is organised by the Higher Education, Research and Innovation Department of the French Embassy and the Institut Français du Royaume-Uni, in collaboration with the Maison française d’Oxford and with the support of the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie.


The project involves French departments in 7 universities throughout the UK. For 2019-2020, these universities are: University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, University of Warwick (England), University of Cardiff (Wales), University of Aberdeen, University of St Andrews (Scotland) and Queen’s University Belfast (Northern Ireland). Delegates from each university will convene in London to discuss the novels on the Académie Goncourt’s selection and award the Choix Goncourt UK.


The winner will be announced on December 13th, 2019 and invited to come to the United Kingdom in 2020.


The Institut Français du Royaume Uni will on that day, as part of the ceremony, be hosting a special lecture by Edward Hughes on Marcel Proust.


In December 1919, Marcel Proust won the prestigious Prix Goncourt for A l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs, the second volume in what would later emerge as one of the great novels of the twentieth century, A la recherche du temps perdu. Professor Edward Hughes (Queen Mary University London) explores the context in which Proust was working in 1919, the coverage given to the award and how A l’ombre can be read as the novel of modernity.



7pm | in English | Free


See also the screening of The Captive, adapted from Proust’s The Prisoner at 8.15pm


Log into culturetheque, to read some of the finest work of contemporary French literature, including Marcel Proust, Albert Camus, Tahar Ben Jelloun, Virginie Despentes, Léonora Miano and Natacha Appanah.