The 16th edition of the Prix Carbet des Lycéens took place on February 29th, 2016 at the High school Droits de l’Homme in Petit-Bourg, Guadeloupe. The high school students from Guadeloupe, Martinique and Guiana gave the absolute majority to the novel “Les Réputations” written by Juan Gabriel Vásquez. On May 4th of this year, the Colombian writer came in Guadeloupe to meet his young readers and to receive his prize.
The vote of the high school students from Guadeloupe, Martinique and Guiana gave its results after passionate readings and discussions. This year, it was the novel written by Juan Gabriel Vásquez entitled “Les Réputations” (Publishing House Seuil) that won the Prix Carbet des Lycéens. This book of 192 pages published in August, 2014 is kind of an analysis of the media power and its consequences as well as an analysis of the memory and its flaws. As usual, the choice of these young readers was not very easy. By September 2015, they had to read a selection of six authors’ novels from the Caribbean, all with very strong messages like the search for roots, the meaning of life, migration…
In addition to his high quality of writing, “Les Réputations” was chosen certainly because it refers to the freedom of expression, a topical theme since the terrorist attack against the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, in January, 2015 in Paris. Indeed, the lead character, Javier Mallarino, is a famous 65-years-old political caricaturist who, with his two weapons (paper and India ink), can ruin the career of any politician and magistrate or make repeal any law.
The Colombian Juan Gabriel Vásquez, 43-year-old, is accustomed to literary prizes. After studying literature at Sorbonne University in Paris and the world success of his first novel, “The Informers”, he won the Qwerty Prize for the best novel in Spanish and the Fundación Libros y Letras Prize for the best book of fiction for “The Secret History of Costaguana”, the Alfaguara Prize in 2011 for “The Sound of Things Falling” and the Roger Caillois Prize in 2012 for its whole work.
Launched in 2000 by the association Arts Lycéens, the Prix Carbet des Lycéens aims to encourage young people to read in spite of the predominance of social networks and to make them discover the region where they live, the Caribbean.
The selected books for the Prix Carbet des Lycéens in 2016
“Les Réputations” by of Juan Gabriel Vásquez – Publishing House Seuil, 2014 – Colombia
“L’Ancêtre en Solitude” by Simone and André Schwarz-Bart – Publishing House Seuil, 2015 – Guadeloupe
“Je suis Vivant” by Kettly Mars – Publishing House Mercure de France, 2015 – Haiti
“Le Bout du Monde est une Fenêtre” by Emmelie Prophète – Publishing House Memoire d’Encrier, 2015 – Haiti
“Les Illusions du Sang” by Georges Léno – Publishing House L’Harmattan, 2015 – Martinique
“Des Vies Cassées” by Hubert Nigel Thomas – Publishing House Mémoire d’Encrier, 2013 – St Vincent and The Grenadines