As reported in the Times of Israel, a French-Jewish author and ethnopsychologist has won a prestigious literary prize in Tunisia for a book he wrote about the life and expulsion of Egyptian Jews. Tobie Nathan had an academic career and served as cultural attache to the French embassy in Israel in the early 2000s. The award may be interpreted not only as a recognition that Jews were forced out of the Arab world, but to show that, in spite of sporadic terror attacks and the rise of Islamism since the Arab Spring, the secular Tunisian elite is philosemitic. (with thanks: Veronique, Lily and Jeff)
Tobie Nathan (Photo: Joël Saget AFP)
The jury of the “Goncourt List: The Choice of Tunisia” award voted Wednesday to give its first-ever prize to Tobie Nathan for his book “This Country that Resembles You,” which was published in French earlier this year.
The Tunisian award was established earlier this year as the local version of France’s Goncourt Prize, awarded annually since 1903 by the Académie Goncourt literary society in Paris to the author of “the best and most imaginative prose work of the year.” Prominent members of the French society visited Tunisia in October to assist the Tunisian affiliate in selecting candidates for the prize.
Nathan was announced as the affiliate’s first-ever laureate at an event Wednesday at the French Institute of Tunisia. The four final candidates were selected according to the votes of 176 literature professionals and students from 12 institutions, the news site tunivisions.net reported Thursday.