Novel by Leila Slimani Finalist for Both France’s Goncourt and Renaudot Prizes

Moroccan-French author Leila Slimani’s Chanson douce (Sweet Song) has made the four-title finalist list for the Goncourt, France’s most prominent literary prize, as well as the five-title finalist’s list for the Renaudot:

cvt_chanson-douce_782Régis Jauffret Cannibales is the only other book to have made both lists.

Slimani has previously won Morocco’s Mamounia literary prize for her novel In the Garden of the Ogre, about a woman who’s a sex addict. It doesn’t seem that any of her work has been translated into English.

Chanson douce is, according to reports, an excavation of class and cultural prejudice, as well as a story of murder that foregrounds Miriam, mother of two who goes back to work as a lawyer, and Louise, the family’s working-class nanny.

Although the novel is set in France, Slimani said in a recent HuffPost Maghreb interview that it would be very interesting to transpose into a Moroccan reality.

Also yesterday, Lebanese-American novelist Rabih Alameddine took this year’s Prix Femina Étranger for Les Vies de papier (the French version of An Unnecessary Woman), as translated by Nicolas Richard.

Samar Yazbek’s Les portes du néant made the second cut for the Prix Médicis “foreign books” list; the finalists’ lists for the Prix Médicis are set to be announced tomorrow. Yazbek’s book was also translated into English as The Crossing by Nashwa Gowanlock and Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp (2015)

The four on the Goncourt final list:

  • Catherine Cusset L’Autre qu’on adorait Gallimard
  • Gaël Faye Petit pays Grasset
  • Régis Jauffret Cannibales Seuil
  • Leila Slimani Chanson douce Gallimard

The five on the Renaudot final list:

  • Adélaïde de Clermont-Tonnerre, Le dernier des nôtres (Grasset)
  • Régis Jauffret, Cannibales (Seuil)
  • Simon Liberati, California girls (Grasset)
  • Yasmina Reza, Babylone (Flammarion)
  • Leila Slimani, Chanson douce (Gallimard)

The winners will be announced in November.