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May 17, 2021
ARTS & LEISURE

Controversial author Michel Houellebecq wins Prix Goncourt

Michel Houellebecq, the best-selling French author who has fanned controversy with his writings and comments on women and Islam, has won France’s most coveted literary prize, according to The Guardian. Houellebecq, the enfant terrible of French contemporary literature accepted the award at Le Drouant, the small Paris restaurant where the jury always make their final judgement over lunch. The jury had voted seven to two in favour of his widely-acclaimed novel “La Carte et le Territoire” (The Map and the Territory) after three failed attempts over a decade. He wins a symbolic prize of EUR 10, but the prize is said to boost sales to around 400,000 copies in general – the book has already sold almost 200,000 copies in France.


The win comes despite accusations of plagiarism; one critic noticed at least three chunks of text were apparently the same as passages from the French-language edition of the online site Wikipedia. The writer has long polarised critical opinion in his native country, and elsewhere, for highly provocative works including “Atomised” and “The Possibility of an Island.” His critics have charged him with obscenity and misogyny.
”The Map and the Territory” has been described as part-thriller and part-satire.

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