The American Library in Paris Book Award

book award

The finalists for the 2014 American Library in Paris Book Award, recognizing the most distinguished English-language book about France, have been announced by the Library. They are:

How to Ruin a Queen: Marie Antoinette, the Stolen Diamonds and the Scandal that Shook the French Throne, by Jonathan Beckman (history)

The Embrace of Unreason: France 1914-1940, by Frederick Brown (history)

Brave Genius: A Scientist, a Philosopher, and their Daring Adventures from the French Resistance to the Nobel Prize, by Sean B. Carroll (biography)

Citizen Emperor: Napoleon in Power 1799-1815, by Philip Dwyer (biography)

An Officer and a Spy, by Robert Harris (fiction)

Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932, by Francine Prose (fiction)

The winning book will be chosen in September by jury members Alice Kaplan, Sebastian Faulks, and Pierre Assouline, all members of the Library’s Writer’s Council. The award and $5,000 cash prize will be presented to the winning book’s author at a ceremony in Paris in November 2014.

The Library received 94 eligible submissions ( 2014 Book Award List of Nominated Books) this year, more than twice the number in the inaugural year. Book-length prose works originally written in English, including but not limited to fiction, history, biography, travel, politics, cooking, and art, are eligible for the award. The 2014 award is restricted to books originally published between July 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014. “The Library is thrilled by the surge of interest in the prize among authors, agents, and publishers – and of course readers,” said Charles Trueheart, director of the American Library. “As one of ten screeners for the shortlist, I was struck by the range of topics and varieties of approach. The history of France and the ways of the French continue to absorb writers and fascinate readers.”

The $5,000 prize is underwritten by a generous gift from the Florence Gould Foundation. All the books listed below are now in the Library's circulating collection and available for checkout by members. 

The local screening committee for the 2014 award consisted of Irina Boulin-Ghica, Jacqueline Cessou, Jeanne Fellowes, Mary Fleming, Leslie de Galbert, Clydette de Groot, Odile Hellier, Saara Marchadour, Brian Manning, and Charles Trueheart. The American Library in Paris Book Award is made possible by a generous gift from the Florence Gould Foundation.

Last year’s shortlist, drawn from 45 entries, consisted of The Illusion of Separateness, by Simon van Booy (fiction); Cezanne: A Life, by Alex Danchev (biography); Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam, by Fredrik Logevall (history); The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo, by Tom Reiss (biography); and How the French Invented Love, by Marilyn Yalom (essays).

The 2013 Book Award went to Embers of War.

About the American Library in Paris Book Award

The American Library in Paris has attracted and celebrated writers for all of its ninety-two 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 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 AMERICAN LIBRARY IN PARIS BOOK AWARD is given to the best book of the year in English about France or the French-American encounter.


The Award is administered by the American Library in Paris and overseen by its Writers Council. The decision of the jury is final and no correspondence will be entered into regarding the judging process.

The 2014 American Library in Paris Book Award - more information

The winner of the Award receives a prize of $5,000. He or she is invited to Paris, with air travel and accommodation at the Library’s expense, for an award ceremony in October and other Library functions, including a public reading and a writing workshop.


October 14, 2013 Nominations open
June 1, 2014 Nominations close
September 2014 Short list announced
October 2014 Winner announced at award ceremony in Paris


  • Any book-length prose fiction or nonfiction work, written originally in English, about France or the French-American encounter, will be considered by a committee of Award screeners.Nominated books must have been published between July 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014.
  • Anyone – author, publisher, agent, reader -- may nominate books for this award.
  • Books published exclusively in electronic form or on line are not eligible.
  • A reprint of a book first published in another year is not eligible.
  • Books by members of the Writers Council or screening committee are not eligible for the Award.

As soon as you know you would like to nominate a book, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the title of the book(s) and the estimated date the Library will receive the book(s). Please nominate and send books as early as possible. All nominated books must be postmarked and mailed the American Library in Paris no later than June 1, 2014.

  • Books may be submitted as finished copies, galleys or bound manuscripts. Galleys and bound manuscripts must be replaced by finished copies at time of publication.
  • A nomination entry is complete when the following have been received by the American Library in Paris:
    • Completed copy of The American Library in Paris Book Award Nomination Form.
      NOTE: A separate nomination form and fee must be received for each title nominated.
    • Five copies of each nominated book. Proof or reviewer’s copies are acceptable as long as the book’s publication date will fall before June 30, 2014.
    • The entry fee. Entry fees are accepted in euro checks (50 euros) or dollar checks ($70.00). An entry fee is expected of each book nominated. Please make checks payable to The American Library in Paris.
    • Selected promotional extracts or reviews of nominated books are welcome, but not required, as is a brief statement of why the book should be considered for the award.
    • All books, nomination forms and entry fees must be postmarked by June 1, 2014.

Please send books, nomination forms and entry fees to:

c/o The American Library in Paris
10, rue du Gėnėral Camou
75007 Paris

Phone number if needed by shipper:  +33 1 53 39 12 60

Books received will not be returned and become property of the American Library in Paris. Please check the Library website regularly for updates and more information on the process. The American Library in Paris Book Award is made possible by a generous gift from the Florence Gould Foundation.

Last modified on Saturday, 13 September 2014 10:03