Astonishing Travelers: the Joseph-Kessel Prize awarded to Jean Rolin

The Joseph Kessel prize of the Etonnants Voyageurs festival, which rewards an author in the spirit of the great French writer, was awarded Tuesday to Jean Rolin for “Le Pont de Bezons” (POL editions).

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France Televisions

Writing Culture


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This prize must be submitted online on May 23 on the occasion of the literary festival of Saint-Malo (Ille-et-Vilaine). The jury praised “a book which, by its humanity and fundamentally its breadth, is fully in the vein of Joseph Kessel “, writer who traveled the whole world as a reporter and adventurer.

Published in August, The Bezons Bridge is a stroll along the banks of the Seine and a few somewhat neglected places on the outskirts of Paris, from Mantes-la-Jolie to Melun. The novelist uses a quote from Céline: “Sing Bezons, here’s the test!“, about this working-class town of Val-d’Oise. His novel was part of the first list selected for the Renaudot 2020 prize and was a finalist for the December Prize.

Jean Rolin, native of Boulogne-Billancourt who grew up not far from Saint-Malo, in Dinard, as well as in Dakar, is a journalist by training and the Albert-Londres prize in 1988 for his book The Front Line: A Journey to Southern Africa. His literary work includes The organization, about his Maoist commitment, Medici Prize 1996, Fences (2001), where he already described the outskirts of Paris near the boulevards des Maréchaux, or the novel The Rapture of Britney Spears (2011).

Fifty authors, including Simone Schwarz-Bart, Mathias Enard and Dany Laferrière, will participate from May 22 to 24 in the 30th edition of Astonishing Voyageurs, now orphaned by Michel Le Bris, founder who died in January.

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