July 28, 2021

5 foundations that support literary creation

Credit photo: BrAt_PiKaChU.

Promote “Human development and proximity through writing, for everyone, throughout the territory and in all its forms” is the mission of the La Poste Corporate Foundation since 2002. As such, it supports a number of literary prizes (the Sévigné prize for a work of correspondence, the Friday prize for a francophone work intended for adolescents over 13 years old…). However, the foundation also has its own prizes.

The first, entitled “Sent by post”, since 2015 rewards a manuscript sent by post to La Poste by a publisher. Endowed with 2,500 euros, it also gives rise to a recommendation of the work to 500,000 La Poste employees, both active and retired. Before I forget, the first novel by Anne Pauly, published by Verdier, was thus named winner in 2019. The second, called “Prize of postiers writers”, is open to any publisher who has published in the last three years the work of a La Poste agent.

Jean Blot is the pen name of the French writer and essayist of Russian origin Alexandre Blokh, former resistance fighter and author in particular of the novels Le Juif Margolin (1998) and Une vie à deux (2005). Passionate about art history, in 2012 he created the Jean Blot Foundation under the aegis of the Fondation de France in order to reward works in French that take up this subject, but also prose books nourished by humanist values echo to his work.

The foundation therefore awards two prizes, alternating from one year to the next. In even years, she awards the Vitale and Arnold Blokh Prize to a work – critical or essay – on Western art from the period from 1600 to 1950 and published the previous year. Endowed with an amount of 5,000 euros, it is awarded during the Fontainebleau Art History Festival, in partnership with the National Institute of Art History (INHA). In 2019, it was thus awarded to Charlotte Guichard for The painter’s signature: the value of art (1730-1820), threshold. In odd-numbered years, the foundation rewards a prose work, “of cosmopolitan inspiration”.

An editor specializing in Slavic literature, Vera Michalski-Hoffmann created the Jan Michalski Foundation in 2004 in honor of her late husband. Based in Montricher, in the Swiss Jura, the foundation has awarded the Jan Michalski Prize for Literature every year since 2010, which amounts to 50,000 Swiss francs, or 47,000 euros. The particularity of the prize is that it is open to all nationalities and all literary genres, from novels to historical essays. In 2019, the Israeli author Zeruya Shalev obtained it for her novel Pain, published in France by Gallimard editions.

Beyond the granting of this prize, the Jan Michalski Foundation also offers to host writers in residence to allow them to start or continue writing work. Finally, it can grant them financial aid, provided that the nature and originality of their project meet its expectations.

Engaged in actions to raise awareness of environmental protection and restoration of degraded ecosystems, the Veolia Foundation also supports authors and publishers who are involved in these subjects. Since 2006, it has awarded the Environment Book Prize each year and also awarded a “special youth” mention to a book intended for young readers. The winning works can be entered in all literary genres, from novels to essays, including comics and photography books. The only condition is that they must have been published in the ten months preceding the award ceremony. The nominees are thus chosen by a jury in May, the winner being announced in July.

The winner of the Environment Book Prize receives an endowment of 5,000 euros from the foundation. The latter also undertakes to order 300 copies of the book, which it then distributes in school documentation centers and in municipal libraries. In 2019, Sébastien Bohler won the prize thanks to his book The human bug, published by Robert Laffont. The mention “special youth” is accompanied by a check for 2,500 euros.

Authors of science fiction, fantasy and fantasy also have the right to patronage. The Julia Verlanger Foundation was created in 1990 by Jean-Pierre Taïeb under the aegis of the Fondation de France, in homage to his wife Éliane Taïeb. Much better known by the pen names Gilles Thomas (The Wild Highway) and Julia Verlanger (The Doors of No Return), the writer published novels and short stories for nearly thirty years, between 1950 and 1980, deeply marking the genre literature of the time.

Every year since 1992, the Julia Verlanger Prize has been awarded by a jury to a work of science fiction or fantasy published the previous year. Now endowed with a sum of 2,500 euros, it can be given to French as well as foreign authors. Among its laureates, we notably count Pierre Bordage for Warriors of Silence (1994) or Jeanne A-Debats for the novella The Old English and the continent (2008). In 2019, it is The Murders of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson, published in France by Le Bélial, which won an award.

Audrey Parvais