In France it's la Rentrée - back to school, back to work and la rentrée littéraire - the autumn releases of 646 books either just published or in the process of publication before November. This year there's a bit of an uproar given how the members of the prestigious Goncourt Prize selection committee - who decide the winners - themselves have books coming out this season. Seems they are eligible and reviewing their 'own' work for prize consideration. Having been on several Edgar judging committees (ie. Best Novel, Best Play, Best Debut for the Mystery Writers of America ) I know that one of our MWA requirements are that one's own work must be taken out of consideration. And you've got to read the books submitted. Tell me, are these prestigious writer folk going to read let's say a gritty crime thriller by Fred Vargas, the French Queen of Crime? Who's on the left and happens to be a woman.
Regarding the 'literary' novels, Amélie Nothomb publishes a book every year. Twenty years after she published her first book - Hygiene and the Assassin - she's still popular and is kind of like a rock star. She's a bestseller and her TV appearances are an 'event'. She always wears black and big hats, writes by hand and fills her novel with biographical bits. Her new book is 'Blue Beard' last year's was titled 'Kill the Father.'
In case you're in France this weekend and looking for a chateau, the former President Valery Giscard d'Estaing's chateau is for sale, with all the furnishings, and open for rubbernecking.
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