3 French prize winners appearing at Sydney Writers’ Festival this week

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There are three non-French authors who have been awarded with literary prizes in France who will be speaking at Sydney Writers’ Festival this week. These prizes include the Chevalier des Arts et Lettres and the Le Prix des romancières.


In order to be considered for an award of the Order des Arts et Lettres you need to have “significantly contributed to the enrichment of the French cultural inheritance”. There are three grades within the award from the Chevalier (Knight) to Officier (Officer) to Commandeur (Commander).


Le Prix des romancières is a literary prize created in 1999 which awards the author of a wide-audience book. The winner receives 3000 euros.


Sydney Writers’ Festival runs from 29 April to 5 May.


Antony Beevor

In addition to being awarded a Chevalier des Arts et Lettres in France, Antony Beevor has also ben awarded a Cross of the Order of Terra Mariana in Estonia, and Commandeur de l’Ordre de la Couronne in Belgium. And if that wasn’t enough, he received a knighthood in 2017!

Antony Beevor


Antony Beevor is a pre-eminent British historian and one of the greatest chroniclers of the Second World War. His books include Crete (Runciman Prize) Stalingrad (Samuel Johnson, Wolfson and Hawthornden Prizes); Berlin; The Battle for Spain (Premio La Vanguardia); D-Day (RUSI Westminster Medal); The Second World War; Ardennes 1944 (shortlist Prix Médicis); and now Arnhem, which is another international Number 1 Bestseller.


Antony Beevor’s work has been translated into thirty-three languages and has sold more than eight million copies.


Antony will appear in the following Sydney Writers’ Festival events:

Matters of Fact

Thursday, May 2, 2019 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM $25 ($20 concession)



An evening with Antony Beevor

Friday, May 3, 2019 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM $35- $45 ($25 concession)


In this very special Sydney Writers’ Festival event, Antony Beevor will discuss his incredible body of work, including his latest release, Arnhem.

Antony will be introduced by Kate Evans and will talk about his superbly written and forensically researched account of the failed Allied paratroopers’ campaign to seize bridges leading to the Rhine in 1944, as detailed in his new bestseller.


Paul Holdengräber

Paul Holdengräber was awarded the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres in 2003.

Paul Holdengräber

Holdengräber is a revered interviewer who he has called “one of the most brilliant minds in America, or anywhere”. He is known for encouraging his guests to step outside their areas of specialisation and into wider-reaching discussions. His conversational partners have included Patti Smith; Zadie Smith; Jay-Z, Wes Anderson; Salman Rushdie; Christopher Hitchens; RuPaul; David Remnick; Pete Townshend and Werner Herzog. Over the course of Holdengräber’s tenure at the New York Public Library, about 200,000 people attended interviews hosted by Holdengräber as the host of LIVE from the NYPL at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. Paul is also the host of the podcast A Phone Call from Paul on Literary Hub.


Holdengräber has also written essays and articles for journals in France, Germany, Spain, and the United States and taught at various universities including Williams College and Claremont Graduate University.


Holdengräber appears in:

George Saunders in Conversation with Paul Holdengräber

Thursday, May 2, 2019 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM $35-$35 ($25 concession)


Man Booker Prize winner and master of modern fiction, George Saunders sits down with Paul Holdengräber to share insights into his life, craft and genre-bending body of work.


Belonging: The story of the jews

Sunday, May 5, 2019 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM $35 ($25 concession)


One of the world’s most popular and prolific historians, Simon Schama has delivered a towering achievement with Belonging: The Story of the Jews 1492-1900. Beginning with the Jews’ expulsion from Spain, he unfolds the stories not just of rabbis and philosophers, but of a poet in a Venetian ghetto, a general in Ming China, and an opera composer in 19th-century Germany, and many more besides.


The hugely entertaining author speaks with revered interviewer Paul Holdengräber about his intellectually commanding yet instantly accessible history.


Fatima Bhutto

Fatima Bhutto was awarded the Prix des Romancières in France for her book The Shadow of the Crescent Moon.

Fatima Bhutto

Bhutto was born in Kabul, Afghanistan and grew up in Syria and Pakistan. Fatima’s work has appeared in The Guardian, The Financial Times, Vogue and other publications. She is the author of five books.


Her latest novel is The Runaways. It’s an electrifying novel which explores facets of Pakistani society and Muslim identity in the modern world. Spanning the slums of Karachi and a seaside English town, it traces the story of three people who are forced to make a terrible choice after crossing paths in a desert.


Fatma Bhutto appears in:

Fatima Bhutto: The Runaways

Thursday, May 2, 2019 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM $30 ($20 concession $15 cabaret)


The bestselling author of acclaimed novels, and a memoir about her life in the Bhutto political family, joins ABC’s Eleanor Hall to discuss her illuminating new exploration of turbulent times.


Know your place: The politics of identity

Friday, May 3, 2019 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM


Fatima Bhutto and Elaine Castillo (America Is Not the Heart) are widely acclaimed novelists, who have both supercharged literature with their nuanced, layered and passionate responses to questions of belonging.


But what does it mean when it’s only writers of colour that are consistently asked to be on panels about ‘identity’, while white writers are rarely (if ever) seen on such line-ups?


Fatima and Elaine join Roanna Gonsalves to delve beyond this particular cliché, and discuss how the exploration of geopolitics and history in their work, in a global context and closer to home, can be unwittingly reduced to ‘identity’, even though it’s far more complex – and interesting – than that.


Closing address: Fatima Bhutto


Fatima Bhutto will also close the festival with the closing address.


Have you read any of these authors’ works? Are you attending any Sydney Writers’ Festival events?


You can also read our article about French and francophone authors speaking at Sydney Writers’ Festival.

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