Prize Pivot: France’s ‘Judge it on Page 112’

In News by Dennis Abrams

Echoing Woody Allen’s line, a French literary prize jumps right past the opening of the book and over to Page 112 in a bid to find the best work.
From the Prix de la Page 112 site

From the Prix de la Page 112 site

By Dennis Abrams | @DennisAbrams2

‘Everyone Neglects Page 112’
To the possible relief of book prize judges everywhere (judges for the Man Booker read as many as 145 titles over a six-month period), here comes a book award with a difference.

France’s Le Prix de la Page 112, a prize based solely on a novel’s 112nd page.

The name of the prize is based on a line from Woody Allen’s Hannah and Her Sisters: “Don’t forget the poem on page 112. It reminded me of you!” referring to the great ee cummings’ poem, “somewhere I have never traveled”.

As Allison Flood writes in The Guardian, citing the award’s Web site:

Alison Flood“For several decades, editors and writers have given exceptional care to the beginning of a book, in order to impress the reader immediately.

But what happens in the rest of the book?

Alas … too often, nothing at all.”

The idea is that for readers, publishers, authors, and editors, Page 112 is the point at which attention begins to wane.

“I like this – a lot. No more judging a book by cover, blurb and the first few pages in a bookshop. I’ll be turning straight to page 112 from now on, to make my decision. What are the best 112s on your shelves? Please leave them in the comments, so we can all have a squiz.”

Going back to the prize site:

“Everyone neglects page 112,” they write. “That’s why we chose it. Our logic is simple. If a remarkable page 112 is rare, then it is [reasonable] to hope that the novel in which it appears might also be remarkable, from beginning to end.”

And here are this year’s nominees:

Claire Barré, Phrères, Robert Laffont
Bruno Bayon, Roulette russe, « Pauvert », Fayard
Olivier Bourdeaut, En attendant Bojangles, éditions Finitude
Philippe Dumez, Basse fidélité, Le Mot et le Reste
Gaëlle Josse, L’ombre de nos nuits, « Notabilia », éditions Noir sur Blanc
Julia Kerninon, Le dernier amour d’Attila Kiss, éditions du Rouergue
Pierre Lafargue, Aventures, éditions Vagabonde
Edouard Louis, Histoire de la violence, éditions du Seuil
Dominique Paravel, Giratoire, Serge Safran Editeur
Alain Veinstein, Venise aller simple, « Fictions et Cie », éditions du Seuil

Prix de la Page 112 banner

About the Author

Dennis Abrams

Dennis Abrams is a contributing editor for Publishing Perspectives, responsible for news, children's publishing and media. He's also a restaurant critic, literary blogger, and the author of "The Play's The Thing," a complete YA guide to the plays of William Shakespeare published by Pentian, as well as more than 30 YA biographies and histories for Chelsea House publishers.