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Alexis Jenni wins Prix Goncourt

3rd November 2011

French writer Alexis Jenni has been awarded the Prix Goncourt, the most prestigious literary award in France, for his debut novel L'Art Francais De La Guerre.

Jenni, who is a teacher at a school in Lyon, was presented with the nominal prize of EUR 10 at the famous Drouant restaurant in Paris, though the real prize for the author will be the major exposure his novel is likely to receive.

The book, which translates as The French Art of War and is currently being translated into English, examines the country's attitudes to race and immigration through examining conflicts in Algeria and south-east Asia.

The Goncourt Prize is awarded annually to 'the best and most imaginative prose work of the year' and Jenni's victory means he follows in the footsteps of last year's controversial winner, Michel Houellebecq.

Houellebecq was given the honour for his novel La Carte et Le Territoire (The Map and The Territory), though the decision polarised critics and members of the public, many of whom accuse the writer of misogyny and obscenity in his work.

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