High school teacher wins top French literary prize

AP News
Posted: Nov 02, 2011 12:24 PM
High school teacher wins top French literary prize

A high school teacher won France's top literary prize Wednesday for his first novel, which deals with France's colonial wars in Algeria and Southeast Asia.

The Prix Goncourt was awarded to Alexis Jenni for "L'Art francais de la Guerre" _ "The French Art of War." Jenni teaches biology at a high school in the French city of Lyon.

As is tradition, the award was announced at Paris' Drouant restaurant, where the prize committee meets each month during the year to discuss the selection.

The prize comes with just a euro10 ($13) purse, but guarantees acclaim and significant sales for the winning author. Past recipients have included Marcel Proust, Simone de Beauvoir and Marguerite Duras.

Jenni's novel was the clear favorite, according to jury member Didier Decoin, who said it won 5-3 in the first round of voting.

Last year, Michel Houellebecq, a best-selling French author who has fanned controversy with his writings and comments on women and Islam, won for his work, "La Carte et Le Territoire" _ "The Map and The Territory."