For its 11th edition, the Orange Book Prize went to Jean-Baptiste Maudet for his novel "Matador Yankee", published by Le Passage.
The jury was chaired by Jean-Christophe Rufin and made up of authors: Joachim Schnerf (winner in 2018 for his novel, “Cette Nuit, Zulma”), Geneviève Brisac, Jean-Luc Coatalem, Carole Fives, and Cloé Korman; bookstore owners Stanislas Rigot (Lamartine in Paris) and Elodie Bonnafoux (Arcanes in Châteauroux) and seven literary enthusiasts from the website community lecteurs.com.
Among the contending novels, five works were selected by the jury for the audience vote on 10-27 May on the lecteurs.com website.
The combined votes of the jury and web users ultimately chose the book by Jean-Baptiste Maudet, “Matador Yankee”, published by Le Passage.
The four other finalists are: Bénédicte Belpois, “Suiza” (published by Gallimard), Franck Bouysse, “Né d’aucune femme” (born of no woman) (La manufacture de livres), Harold Cobert, “Belle-Amie” (Les Escales) and Jean-Claude Grumberg, “La plus précieuse des marchandises” (the most precious merchandise) (Seuil).
A short description of the novel by Jean-Baptiste Maudet
Harper could have had another life. He grew up between two different worlds. He is not quite a failed bullfighter. Nor is he entirely a cowboy. He has never really won big, and is not exactly Robert Redford’s son either. He could have refused to go there, to the madmen, in the mountains of the Sierra Madre, to fight cows that look like the peasants who rear them. And all that, for a gambling debt.
Now he has no choice. Harper must find Magdalena, the daughter of the village mayor, lost in the Tijuana slums. And he will keep going until he finds her. Sometimes, he thinks, it would be better to slide into a space where you have no control over the world around you...
The arenas are burning. The pickups are breaking down on the roadside. And California gold is seeping out of the mud.
With Matador Yankee, in the footsteps of his hero John Harper, Jean-Baptiste Maudet takes the reader on a road trip with intoxicating smells, saturated colours, where the ghosts of history and cinema merge. The backbone of America cracks without falling apart.
Jean-Baptiste Maudet is a geographer and teaches at the University of Pau. Matador Yankee is his first novel.
The Orange Book Prize has been awarded since 2009 for a literary work in French, published between 1 January and 31 March of the current year. It is unusual for the diversity of its voters: authors, booksellers and readers. The winner receives a prize of €15,000 and the book benefits from a promotional campaign in the press and online and throughout the FNAC network.
This prize is supported by our foundation, which has for several years led action to support access to culture and knowledge for all. This sponsorship policy highlights the role of digital technology in the mediation, transmission and spreading of knowledge.
The Orange Book Prize is on the website lecteurs.com, a literary social network that brings together more than 225,000 members.