|US writer Alice McDermott won Prix Femina from France for her novel, The Ninth Hour. – AFP photo|
PARIS – Novel American writer Alice McDermott Ninth hour was awarded Prix Femina from France for the best foreign novel this year yesterday.
"This is surprising, especially because it's from a female jury," the author said after receiving the news. "There are a lot of good books on the list, so I was surprised – glad that."
Prizes are given for the best French and foreign novels, written by a man or woman. Juri Femina consists exclusively of female writers and academics. Founded in 1904, the award was seen as a woman's answer to the Goncourt Prize, which did not go to a woman until 1944.
Ninth hour is McDermott's eighth novel, and the seventh is translated into French. "I write for all of us, I hope. But there are some areas of life that have not been given attention by fiction," said the author, 65. "We don't have enough novels with women, still."
Set in Brooklyn Brooklyn in the early 20th century, this novel follows the life of Sally, who was saved from adversity and raised by nuns.
McDermott's work has been compared to the work of Alice Munro, who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2013.
The previous three books – After this, At Weddings and Wakes, and That night – is a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
Born in Brooklyn of Irish descent, like the characters of his novel, McDermott teaches Humanities at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.
Previous winners of prizes include John Edgar Wideman (2017) and Richard Ford for his Canadian novel (2013). – AFP