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France’s top literary prize, the Goncourt, has gone to philosophy teacher Jérôme Ferrari for The Sermon on the Fall of Rome – a novel that takes place in a bar on the violence-torn island of Corsica.

le-sermon-sur-la-chute-de-rome-de-jerome-ferrariAs is traditional, Goncourt officials announced Ferrari had won in a Parisian restaurant. Ferrari flew in from Abu Dhabi, where he teaches at the French lycée, to collect his award.Any impression that he was taking the news with sang froid was an illusion, he told RFI. “I’m not calm at all, I’m overwhelmed,” he said. “Luckily I’m very tired from the flight so I seem relaxed. I have been dreaming of this prize ever since I was shortlisted for the Goncourt but it hasn’t been my life’s ambition to get it.”

The Sermon on the Fall of Rome tells the story of a young man who drops his philosophy studies to open a bar in Corsica, hoping to create a haven of happiness and peace. But sex, drink, corruption and violence take the plot in a different direction.

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Corsica Infurmazione, L’information Corse

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