Imagined by Jean-Philippe Cartier and Pierre-Antoine Capton, the owners of the Flaubert hotel, the prize was awarded to the writer and cartoonist Frédéric Pajak for his novel In the quiet of the evening.
The red carpet rolled out in front of theHotel Flaubert de Trouville, took the rain. The wind was blowing hard, torturing the umbrellas. A time conducive to intense melancholy! But it would have taken more to discourage the owners of the hotel, Jean-Philippe Cartierat the head of the H8 Collection hotel group and H8 Invest, and Pierre Antoine Capton, boss of the Mediawan group. These two brilliantly successful autodidacts joined forces to buy, in 2021, at the time of the pandemic, the beautiful Hôtel Flaubert, created in 1936 and whose facade is a huge fresco painted by Savignac. This jewel of the seaside resort, at the foot of the main beach saw Flaubert, Proust and Marguerite Duraswho lived a few hundred meters away, in Roches Noires.
For Pierre-Antoine Capton, this prize was obvious: “ I am very touched to be able to create a new event in Trouville. » With his partner and friend Jean-Philippe Cartier, he launched the idea of a prize in homage to Flaubert. In partnership with Le Figarothe Maison Ruinart and the town hall of Trouville, he set up a jury made up of writers David Foenkinos, Guy Birenbaum, Emilie Freche, Agatha Rugajournalists Isabelle Giordano (general delegate of the BNP Foundation), Nicolas Ungemuth, (deputy editor-in-chief Culture of the Figaro Magazine) and Bruno Corty, (editor-in-chief of the Literary Figaro)Fabien Vallerian (Director of Art and Culture at Maison Ruinart), Isabelle Drong (Deputy at the Town Hall of Trouville in charge of culture) and Jean-Philippe Pérou, bookseller at Paper Usage in Trouville.
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On April 18, the jury selected five titles published since the beginning of 2023. Double v of Laura Ulonati (South Acts), behind the shadows by Celine Navarre (Gallimard), To make love of Clarisse Gorokhoff (Robert Laffont) Avalanche of Raphael Haroche And In the quiet of the evening by Frédéric Pajak (Black on White). Very quickly, the jury’s choice fell on two titles: the beautiful novel by Laura Ulonati on Virginia Woolf and his sister Vanessa and the beautiful work of Frédéric Pajak. Friday, May 12, at 6 p.m., the bar of the Flaubert hotel therefore welcomed the jury, in the presence of Sylvie de Gaetano, mayor of Trouville, who is already organizing a Book Fair in the fall. President Foenkinos, proud to recall that he supported a master’s degree on the author of Madame Bovary announced that the first Flaubert prize was awarded to Frédéric Pajak, author of In the quiet of the evening.
Read alsoShort biography of Frédéric Pajak
A line of artists
Franco-Swiss draftsman, writer and publisher, Pajak, 67, is the author of an important work which includes in particular a series of nine volumes grouped under the title Uncertain manifesto . The third volume of this series of literary works, combining texts and drawings, autobiography and tributes to great writers or artists, was crowned in 2014 by the Médicis essay prize and the seventh in 2019 by the Goncourt prize for biography.
Today Frédéric Pajak is crowned with the Flaubert Prize, an author whose Correspondence he especially likes even if he has read the novels, he who reads few of them. Before pocketing a check for 3,000 euros and benefiting from a week’s residence at the Hôtel Flaubert, the winner gave a moving speech in which he spoke of his grandfather Jean Pajak, “ obscure Pole stranded in the coal mines of northern France » who saved in order to take courses at the Beaux-Arts. As for Frédéric Pajak’s father, Jacques, he was also a painter. His death in a car accident at age 35 decided the career of his young son: “ The following night, I heard his voice, it filled the darkness of my room. I knew that night that in my turn I would become a painter-draughtsman. »
In the father’s library, the thousands of books, including those of Robert Pinget, a friend of the Pajak family and of Beckett, intimidated the young Frédéric. Referring to the crowned book, the laureate specified that“ it followed the nine volumes of the Uncertain manifestoa long journey through Europe, the Sahara, Russia… where we meet Walter Benjamin, Ezra Pound, Emily inson, Marina Tsvetaeva, Pesoa. This new volume is an extension of this, even if there are no great writers or artists. It’s a tale of scattered memories, of unforgettable cities, of the ghosts of my friends. This is the book I dreamed of when I was a child… »
After celebrating the winner until the night, the creators of the prize, the jury, the winner met on Saturday 13 at the bookstore Use of paper of Jean-Philippe Pérou, rue des Bains, where, the rain having given way to the sun, Frédéric Pajak, David Foenkinos, Emily Frèche and Guy Birenbaum signed their books.