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Goncourt high school students, a coveted literary prize, competing in the big leagues

Ⓒ AFP/Archives – JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER – | The President of the Goncourt Prize for high school students Margaux Comte presents the award-winning novel “Little Country” by Gaël Faye in Rennes on November 17, 2016

With 443,000 copies of books sold on average, Goncourt high school students has built in thirty years a solid reputation among the closed club literary awards of the fall, assuming as a bonus to be one of the most coveted that it be awarded by young readers.

“It’s incredible the influence, at our ages, we can change the life of an author, a publishing house,” said Naomie Le Vaillant, 16, regional delegate West Goncourt des High school students whose 30th laureate will be revealed Thursday.

High school students chose Monday four finalists from the selection of Goncourt, 15 books, they read since September. “It was a challenge,” admits Naomie.

This literary prize, is a response “to the concerns of both the educational community and that of booksellers, through studies that demonstrated the disaffection of young people for reading,” says Bernard Le Doze, who was professor of Letters in Rennes and mission manager at the Rennes Academy when the prize was created in 1988.

Ⓒ AFP – Vincent LEFAI – | The success of books

In collaboration with Brigitte Stephan, head of communication at Fnac Rennes, they set the foundation of this award this year with the operation “Tout Rennes Goncourt”. Ten classes of high school students in the city must floor on the selection of the most popular literary prize. Young readers crowned for the first edition Erik Orsenna for “The Colonial Exhibition” (Threshold), also awarded by the Goncourt.

“We made a copy-pasted Goncourt price, since the idea was that the students meet the same day at the same time at the time, as their elders, in a restaurant not at Drouant but in a restaurant in Paris. Rennes who looks like him and retransmit the name of the winner live on France 3 “, recalls Ms. Stephan.

Given the success of this operation, the National Education team with the project and Goncourt high school students expanded to the entire territory in 1990.

– ‘considerable impact’ –

“This is a fabulous initiative for all contemporary literature, the authors are also very happy to meet young readers who ask them questions + cash +, sometimes even without a filter. exchanges, “observes David Foenkinos, winner of the 2014 edition with” Charlotte “.

“It’s a price that made me dream, and for + Charlotte + I dreamed about it, because I wanted it to be known by the young audience.This price was my greatest happiness,” says the writer whose circulation has reached 500,000 copies.

Ⓒ AFP/Archives – DAMIEN MEYER – | The President of the Goncourt Prize for high school students Corto Courtois presents the award-winning novel in 2015, “After a true story” by French Delphine de Vigan, in Rennes, on December 1st, 2015

“It is obvious that the Goncourt School is an increasingly important prize and that it has a considerable impact.There is not a single Goncourt high school students who has not sold,” says David Foenkinos .

With an average of more than 443,000 copies sold, the Goncourt high school students is the most coveted literary prize over the period 2012-2016, according to a study by the Gfk Institute. This price is ahead of the Goncourt (about 400,000 copies), the Renaudot (221,000) or the Femina (83,000).

“This sales success is due to the fact that it is a prize for young readers, who are considered independent of spirit even if they work on a selection made by members of the Académie Goncourt. knows that they have a real choice, they are not pulled by this or that publisher to give a price to such a “, analysis Brigitte Stephan.

Ⓒ AFP – J.M. Cornu/V. Lefai-P. Defosseux, Philippe MOUCHE, Vincent LEFAI – | Winners of the 2017 Literary Awards

For the publisher, “there is also the idea that under Christmas trees, there are plenty of parents who buy high school students Goncourt and say + Oh well, here is a book at least that I can offer to my son / daughter because they are young people who read it “.

With its experience, the Goncourt high school students who celebrates its 30th edition, is now + copied +: a Femina version was created last year in Rouen, and a Renaudot price version also exists, awarded to Loudun (Vienna), but he has never achieved the reputation of the Breton initiative.

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