Saturday, June 9, 2018

Spain's Asturias Prize for Literature: Fred Vargas

French crime writer Fred Vargas, the pen name of Frederique Audoin-Rouzeau, has won Spain's prestigious Asturias Prize for Literature.

According to the jury, more than 30 candidates from 21 countries opted for recognition, among which the French author's work stood out since 'it embodies the revitalization of a genre such as intrigue novel.'

The president of the Royal Spanish Academy, Dario Villanueva, read the jury's verdict in which he praises the quality of Vargas' writing and the originality of her narrative work. 'He has an ability to combine intrigue, action and reflection with a rhythm that recalls the musicality characteristic of good prose in French,' Villanueva said.

The verdict also highlighted the mysterious and complex ecosystem implicit in its plots, the irony to describe her characters, the deep cultural knowledge and the overflowing imagination that opens unpublished literary horizons to the reader. 'Vargas added brilliantly original pieces, atmospheres and spaces to black novel, which leaves us a work of universal projection', highlighted the specialists in the official declaration of the award, fifth of the eight international awards convened annually by the foundation.

Frederique Audoin-Rouzeau, 60, is a French author of crime novels that gave great importance in her prose to legends, historical events, humor and poetry. Also known for her archaeological work in the rescue of medieval pieces, Audoin-Rouzeau chose the pseudonym Fred Vargas like her twin sister Jo, in homage to Maria Vargas, Ava Gardner's main character in The Barefoot Contessa.

Her work includes The Games of Love and Death, 1986, and Those who are about to die greet you, 1994; and the most remembered character is Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg, a police superintendent without a real research method.

The award foundation said that Vargas, who is also a distinguished archaeologist, perceives society as "a mysterious and complex ecosystem" and her detective stories possess original plots and irony in their description of characters, as well as abundant imagination.

Vargas has won three International Dagger Awards from the Crime Writers Association.


Fred Vargas was born in Paris in 1957. As well as being a best-selling author in France, she is an historian and archaeologist. She worked at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), which she joined in 1988. She later joined the Institut Pasteur, as a eukaryotic archaeologist. She mostly writes police thrillers (policiers) that take place in Paris and feature the adventures of Chief Inspector Adamsberg and his team. Her interest in the Middle Ages is manifest in many of her novels, especially through the person of Marc Vandoosler, a young specialist in the period.

HT: BV Lawson, In Reference to Murder

1 comment:

Auntie Knickers said...

So pleased to hear this since it reminded me how much I liked the first of the Three Evangelists series and I've now ordered the second. I'm glad to see there are several more by her that I can look forward to.