Alexis Jenni

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Alexis Jenni
Alexis Jenni at a book signing in Lyon in November 2011.
Alexis Jenni at a book signing in Lyon in November 2011.
BornApril 1963
Lyon, France
OccupationNovelist, biology teacher
GenreHistorical fiction
Notable worksL'Art français de la guerre

Alexis Jenni (born 1963) is a French novelist and biology teacher. His debut novel, The French Art of War, won the 2011 Prix Goncourt, France's most prestigious literary award.[1]


Jenni was born in 1963 in Lyon, France. A father of three,[2] he has a degree in biology, and is a professor in the life sciences at the Lycée Saint-Marc in Lyon.[3]

The French Art of War[edit]

His debut novel, L'Art français de la guerre (The French Art of War) was published on 18 August 2011, and was awarded the Prix Goncourt on 2 November 2011. In reaction to the award, Jenni said "I didn't even think I would be published, so the Goncourt wasn't even worth thinking about."[1] The novel deals with France's colonial history in Indochina and Algeria, and was partly inspired by the debate on French identity that developed under the government of President Nicolas Sarkozy. Rather than expressing his personal opinion on the debate, Jenni wanted to make his readers think about it themselves.[1][4] As well as winning the Prix Goncourt, the novel was shortlisted for the Prix Médicis and the Prix Femina.

L'Art français de la guerre was technically Jenni's third novel, but was the first to be published. He had previously written a novel which he never submitted to a publisher, and another which was not accepted.[5] According to Jenni, L'Art français de la guerre took five years to write. He stated that he was a "Sunday writer, just as there are Sunday painters."[6]


  1. ^ a b c "French identity debate inspired Goncourt literary prize winner Jenni". RFI English. 2 November 2011. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
  2. ^ "When does a writer become a writer?" The Atlantic. 25 November 2011. Retrieved 12 April 2012.
  3. ^ « Alexis Jenni remporte le Goncourt » (in French). Libé 2 November 2011. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  4. ^ Bruce Crumley. "Berets and Baguettes? France Rethinks Its Identity". Time. 4 November 2009. Retrieved 1 September 2012.
  5. ^ Smith, Heather (2 November 2011). "Alexis Jenni Wins Goncourt, France's Top Literary Award, for War-Art Book". Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved 4 November 2011.
  6. ^ "Biology teacher wins top French literary prize". France 24. Agence France-Presse. 2 November 2011. Retrieved 4 November 2011.

External links[edit]