To receive a prize in Paris
It was only mildly surreal to find myself in Paris to pick up a prize and grant. That happened in the spring of 2017, upon learning that I had been awarded It was only mildly surreal to find myself in Paris to pick up a prize and grant. That happened in the spring of 2017, upon learning that I had been awarded the prize for first French-language novel by ADELF-AMOPA, also know as the Association of French-Language Writers and the Association of Members of the Order of Academic Palms (no big deal!).
To star in a film about an awards show
The event took place at the offices of the International Organization of La Francophonie (IOF) with an air of decorum but also one of friendliness, in the presence of my editor, who was in town for the book fair, as well as my daughter, who was also in the mythical city by sheer coincidence. Her and I took the opportunity to discover Paris by Vélib for a few days. There were many strolls, cultural excursions and a few mornings runs along the Coulée Verte, a still little-known trail and former 19th century railroad connecting Bastille to the Bois de Vincennes—in some ways a precursor to New York’s High Line. Magical.
The awards ceremony was undoubtedly moving: the opportunity to discover bright lights hailing from many Francophone countries. It all added up to several memorable hours—a tad strange, even. In fact, I thought I was playing in a movie with an awards show scene. These hours were filled with all-too-brief encounters, in the company of wonderful, generous folks who always find the right words, are committed to elevate them and watch them blossom. I am thinking, for example, of Jacques Chevrier and Marie-Neige Berthet, whose sensitive and spirited review of my book I found very moving.
Novelist or copywriter?
I am sometimes asked whether I prefer being a professional writer or a story-minded architect. Truth be told, I appreciate and respect these two worlds—which I consider compatible and complementary—in equal measure. Each realm fuels the other and encourages discipline, rigour and flavour! So long as the work is carried out with pleasure.