The American Library in Paris Book Award

book award

Selections from the 2014 award year

I’ve just received an unexpected and most delightful invitation to submit my novel MOTHER TONGUE for the annual American Library in Paris Book Award designed for authors of fiction or non-fiction books written originally in English about France or the French-American connection. MOTHER TONGUE follows the journey of a young American child advocate attorney with Corsican roots who flees to Paris after a personal tragedy. Serving as a lingua corsa (native Corsican tongue) translator for Liberation, she finds herself caught up in another case of a missing child and uses her secret knowledge of lingua corsa to infiltrate the Corsican separatist movement to find the child and avert another tragedy. A suspense-filled French-American connection for sure. C’est moi! Wish me luck.

The winner of the Award receives a prize of $5000.00 and she is invited to Paris, with air travel and accommodation at the Library’s expense, for an award ceremony including a public reading. All nominated authors will have their books added to the permanent collection and showcased in a special display for six weeks in the fall of 2015. They will also be invited to the award ceremony and be considered for a public reading.

From their website: The American Library in Paris has attracted and celebrated writers for all of its ninety-four years. The Library was created in part as a memorial to a young American poet, Alan Seeger, who wrote the well-known poem “I have a rendezvous with death” not long before he died in action in France in 1916. One of the Library’s founding trustees was Edith Wharton. Ernest Hemingway and Gertrude Stein, among many other writers of note, contributed reviews to the Library’s literary magazine, Ex Libris. Stephen Vincent Benet composed John Brown’s Body at the Library. And authors of every generation have worked and spoken at the Library: Ford Madox Ford, Archibald MacLeish, Colette, Henry Miller, André Gide, Anaïs Nin, James Baldwin, Irwin Shaw, James Jones, and Mary McCarthy, to name a few.

Today the Library is the pre-eminent center in Paris for evening talks by prominent authors who write in English. The Library now looks to extend its commitment to outstanding writing by awarding an annual literary prize [of $5000] under the supervision of its Writer’s Council. A generous grant from the Florence Gould Foundation has allowed us to make this idea a reality.


The collection of over 120,000 books at the American Library in Paris

The material in the Library’s collection of over 120,000 items is composed primarily of works by American and other English-language authors, and features significant holdings in American history and civilization, American literature and literary criticism, American artists, and general aspects of American culture and society. The collection is otherwise described as encyclopedic, covering all topics of knowledge.