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Trent Professor's Novel Wins Au Prix des Lecteurs Radio-Canada


Sylvie Bérard's Terres des Autres Wins Prestigious Readers' Prize from the French Language Service of the CBC

Monday, May 8, 2006, Peterborough

Over the weekend, Professor Sylvie Bérard of the Modern Languages and Literatures Department at Trent University was awarded the top prize in Au Prix des Lecteurs Radio-Canada for her science-fiction novel, Terres des Autres.

In its sixth edition, CBC's Au Prix des Lecteurs Radio-Canada provides an opportunity for readers to sit on a jury and vote for their favourite book from a list of pre-selected works. The jury is selected by Radio-Canada and, this year, was led by well-known playwright, Jean-Marc Dalpé. The winner was announced on Saturday, May 6 at the Salon du Livre du Grand Sudbury.

Terres des Autres, a novel Professor Bérard describes as "a cowboy and Indians story set in an outlandish desert", focuses on a confrontation between two civilizations – one human and the other reptilian, living on the planet Sielxth. It was the only science-fiction book among six finalists.

"My first reaction was one of surprise. My book was a science fiction novel competing in a mainstream literature context, so I thought that the readers might be scared or at least repelled by a story set on a distant planet and featuring outlandish creatures," said Professor Berard when asked about her response to the win. "The fact that the ten members of the jury chose my novel in spite of the genre is amazing, and also the fact that this is a readers' award is very important to me, because, well, readers keep books alive!"

The other finalists in Au Prix des Lecteurs Radio-Canada were: La vie, sens unique, a psychological narrative by Jean-François Somain; Lise Bédard's Wilfrid…la qu ête de l'impossible and Jean Mohsen Fahmy's L'agonie des dieux, which are both historical novels; L'homme aux yeux de loup by Gilles Dubois, a contemporary story where the characters travel from the Great North to Iraq; and Obsessions, a short story collectionby Aurélie Resch.

Terre des Autres is Professor Bérard's first independent novel, though she co-authored Elle meurt a la fin with Brigitte Caron in 1994 and she has been writing short stories for over 15 years. In addition to being named the winner in this prestigious competition, Professor Bérard was also awarded the Grand Prix de la science-fiction et du fantastique québécois in 2005 for Terre des Autres and the book will soon be translated into English by EDGE books. Professor Bérard has been teaching with the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures since September 2002.


For more information, please contact:
Sylvie Bérard, Modern Languages and Literatures, 748-1011 x5383

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Last Updated May 9, 2006