Antoine Gallimard, c.e.o. of Patrick Modiano’s publisher Editions Gallimard, was surprised that the author won the Nobel Prize in Literature yesterday and said he had not been informed of the award in advance, contrary to usual practice.
Even though Modiano’s name had been rumoured, Gallimard said an interview with the French daily Le Figaro this morning (10th October) that he had believed the Swedish Academy jury was “under ideological and political influence—it used to honour only politically engaged authors.”
Modiano “is above all, by his attitude and his work, a writer with his own style,” said Gallimard. “There is no ideological dimension in his work. He is a wild animal. So I was wrong about the Swedish Academy. And I say bravo.” Contrary to usual practice, Gallimard had not been informed shortly before the announcement, he added.
Modiano is the house’s 40th Nobel prize winning author, the last being J M G Le Clézio in 2008. A print run of 100,000 had already been ordered for his latest novel Pour que tu ne te perdes pas dans le quartier, which was released last week. After Le Clézio won the prize, 350,000 copies of his most recent work Ritournelle de la Faim were sold.
Meanwhile Yale University Press plans to bring forward publication of Suspended Sentences, a collection of three of Modiano’s novellas in which it has world English rights. It was originally scheduled for April 2015 but will now come out in November. The publisher will do a print run of around 25,000 copies.
Yale UP director John Donatich said of Modiano’s work: “There is something about the voice I find really compelling. I think he deserves the Nobel."