The American Library in Paris Book Award

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Photo by Krystal Kenney

The 2016 American Library in Paris Book Award

The Burdens of Brotherhood: Jews and Muslims from North Africa to France, by historian Ethan B. Katz, is the winner of the fourth annual American Library in Paris Book Award.

"The Burdens of Brotherhood tells an important and timely story of how the sense of identity of Jews and Muslims of North African origin living in France became more fixed and hostile to each other between the Six Day War in 1967 and the early twenty-first century -- a development that, Katz insists, was in no way inevitable or predetermined," the award jury said.

The annual prize honors the most distinguished book of the year about France or the French, and carries a cash award of $5,000. Novelist Diane Johnson, chairman of the American Library’s Writers Council, presented the award to the author at a ceremony November 3 at the George C. Marshall Center in Paris.

The other five books on the 2016 shortlist were:

  • A Country Road, A Tree, by Jo Baker. (Knopf)
  • At the Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails, by Sarah Bakewell. (Other Press)
  • The Bonjour Effect: The Secret Codes of French Conversation Revealed, by Julie Barlow and Jean-Benoît Nadeau. (St. Martin’s Press)
  • Paris at War: 1939-1944, by David Drake. (Harvard University Press)
  • The Other Paris, by Luc Sante. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

The choice of the winning book was made by the award jury, drawn from the Library’s Writers Council, this year consisting of Laura Auricchio, the chair, whose biography The Marquis: Lafayette Reconsidered, won last year's prize; British novelist Robert Harris, whose An Officer and a Spy, about the Dreyfus affair, won the 2014 award; and Robert O. Paxton, historian and leading American scholar of the Nazi Occupation in France.

The jury continued in its citation: "The book’s highly original and fresh earlier chapters explore a common Maghrebi culture in which Jews and Muslims had good neighborly relations, and in which their identities were set not only by religion but also by profession, education, tastes in food and music, and many other characteristics. Katz's powerful analysis about how identities are shaped will surely prove to be influential far beyond the subject of Jews and Muslims in France."

Katz, 36, is an associate professor of history at the University of Cincinnati. The Burdens of Brotherhood, published in the fall of 2015 by Harvard University Press, was also the winner of a 2015 National Jewish Book Award given by the Jewish Book Council and of the 2016 David H. Pinkney Prize for the best book in French history awarded by the Society for French Historical Studies. Katz’s next book is provisionally entitled Freeing the Empire: The Jewish Uprising That Helped the Allies Win the War, about an uprising in Algiers from 1940 to 1943 that proved vital to the success of Operation Torch.

Here is a full transcript of Ethan B. Katz remarks and photos of the 2016 Book Award is on the Library Flickr

The annual award is supported by a grant from the Florence Gould Foundation. This fourth award was for books originally published between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016.

About the American Library in Paris Book Award

The Book Award was launched in 2013 with a generous gift to the Library from the Florence Gould Foundation. The first recipients of the prize reflect the diversity of intellectual and literary output that the Book Award seeks to recognize -- a work of history, a novel, and a biography:

2015: The Marquis: Lafayette Reconsidered by Laura Auricchio
2014: An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris
2013: Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam by Fredrik Logevall

The Book Award follows a long tradition of showcasing and celebrating authors at the American Library. 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 Benét composed John Brown’s Body at the Library. 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 from the past. As the Library approaches its centennial, it remains the pre-eminent center in Paris for evening talks by prominent authors, artists, and other public figures.

Administration

The Award is administered by the American Library in Paris and is overseen by its Writers Council. For a list of frequently asked questions, please check The American Library in Paris Book Award FAQs.

Eligibility

  • Any book-length prose fiction or nonfiction work, originally written in English, about France or the French, will be considered by a committee of Award screeners. Nominated books must be scheduled for publication between 1 July 2016 and 30 June 2017.
  • Anyone – author, publisher, agent, reader — may nominate books for this award.
  • Books published exclusively in electronic form or online 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.
  • The decision of the jury is final and no correspondence will be entered into regarding the judging process.

As soon as you know you would like to nominate a book, please notify Alexandra Vangsnes at 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). All nominated books must be postmarked and mailed to the American Library in Paris no later than 1 May 2017. Early submissions are encouraged.

Nomination Process

All nomination materials for the 2017 Book Award must be received by 1 May 2017.

  • STEP ONE - Complete and submit the online nomination form. A separate nomination form must be submitted for each title nominated.
  • STEP TWO - Submit the entry fee of €50,00 or $60.00. A separate entry fee must be submitted for each title nominated. We accept payments by check in euros or U.S. dollars. Please make checks payable to The American Library in Paris and send them to the address below.
  • STEP THREE - Submit five (5) copies of each nominated book. Proof or reviewer's copies are acceptable as long as the book's publication date will fall on or before 30 June 2017 and must be replaced by finished copies at the time of publication.

    Please send books and entry fees to:

    The American Library in Paris Book Award
    c/o The American Library in Paris
    10, rue du Général Camou
    75007 Paris
    FRANCE


    Phone number, if needed by shipper:  +33 1 53 59 12 60

    If you choose to send books via FedEx, UPS, DHL, or another shipping company, please send an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to provide a tracking number.

    Timeline

    1 November 2016 Nominations open
    1 May 2017 Nominations close
    15 July 2017 Shortlist announced
    November 2017 Winner announced at award ceremony in Paris

    Books received will not be returned and become property of the American Library in Paris. The American Library in Paris Book Award is made possible by a generous gift from the Florence Gould Foundation.

Last modified on Wednesday, 23 November 2016 15:03