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Triste tigre by Neige Sinno wins US Goncourt Prize Selection

A group of people stand together holding a book

The student jury with author David Diop and Cultural Counselor of France Mohamed Bouabdallah

New York, April 22, 2024 – Yesterday afternoon a jury of university students named Triste tigre by Neige Sinno (published by P.O.L.) the winner of the 2023 US Goncourt Prize Selection. Hosted at Villa Albertine by National Book Award shortlisted David Diop (Beyond the Door of No Return / La Porte du voyage sans retour 2023), the award ceremony was the culmination of months of study and debate undertaken by students at 10 American universities around the four-book Prix Goncourt shortlist.

The Prix Goncourt is France’s most prestigious literary prize. International Goncourt Prize Selections—made by university students in 40 countries—are a global literary barometer, gauging how the shortlist for the Prix Goncourt resonates with different younger audiences around the world.  The US prize, now in its third year, is organized and supported by Villa Albertine, in partnership with the Académie Goncourt and universities from the French Embassy’s Centers of Excellence network.

The student jury noted that Triste tigre, a vivid narrative of childhood trauma, was selected not the for the pleasure of reading it, but for the challenges and questions that it confronts the reader with. “Triste tigre made me question the world of literature, and investigate my own existence as a reader,” one juror noted.

About Triste tigre

From ages 7 to 14, Neige Sinno endured repeated sexual abuse by her stepfather. Years later, she tells her harrowing story and reflects on the mechanisms of incest in this “forensic exploration of how to speak about the unspeakable and how to define the domain of the unspeakable” (Natasha Lehrer, The Times Literary Supplement). 

Neige Sinno is a writer, translator, and academic.  Her latest book, Triste Tigre (P.O.L., 2023),has won many literary prizes, including the Femina Prize, the Prix Goncourt des Lycéens, and the Prix Littéraire Le Monde

“This year a record number of universities participated in the US Goncourt Prize Selection, something that we are very proud of and plan to continue building in the future. Programs like these not only promote great French and Francophone literature abroad, but also continually inspire and strengthen foreign language departments and their students, which is a very important part of our mission,” said Mohamed Bouabdallah, Cultural Counselor of France in the United States and Director of Villa Albertine.

The final jury was comprised of student representatives from the 10 participating universities: Duke, Harvard, NYU, Princeton, Yale, MIT, Columbia, University of Florida, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and the University of Virginia. Each institution is part of the French Embassy’s Centers of Excellence network.

Neige Sinno’s Triste tigre was selected from a shortlist that also included:

  • Jean-Baptiste Andrea, Veiller sur elle, published by L’Iconoclaste (winner of the 2023 Prix Goncourt)
  • Gaspard Kœnig, Humus, published by L’Observatoire
  • Éric Reinhardt, Sarah, Susanne et l’écrivain, published by Gallimard

Triste tigre will be published in English by Seven Stories Press in April 2025.

The jury led a literary discussion for a packed house. (c) Jasmina Tomic

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