Lily Brett wins Prix Medicis for Lola Bensky

I am delighted with today’s news that Lily Brett won the major French literary award, the Prix Medicis, for a work in translation for her novel Lola Bensky. It’s a major vindication for Lily’s writing, and a proud moment for me as her long-time editor.

Lily and I first met when I was a junior editor at Pan Macmillan Australia in the late 1990s. I have edited her fiction and nonfiction ever since. After her husband David Rankin, I am honoured to be her first reader.

The author-editor relationship is a little bit like doctor-patient confidentiality. And so while I’d love to discuss in detail how we work together, I won’t. All I will say is that I’m particularly proud of her achievement with Lola Bensky because the novel’s path to publication was less than smooth.

I hope this award spurs many sales of this and other books of Lily’s in France and elsewhere. I love this photo of her in Paris in 1948, aged two, in the new white rabbit-fur coat that her father obtained on the black market. A triumphant return to Paris today for Lily.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Kirsten Krauth

    Delighted is an understatement! What an amazing achievement! Please send on my congratulations – that’s an incredible award to win, and for a brilliant book.

    1. Virginia Lloyd

      Thanks Kirsten! It is amazing, when you consider that Lily is the first Australian and only the fourth woman to win that award. She beat out the likes of Margaret Attwood, Anthony Marra, James Salter and Evie Wyld. Previous winners include Milan Kundera, Philip Roth, Dave Eggers and Orhan Pamuk. Not too shabby.

  2. rowena

    I’ve wanted to read Lola Bensky ever since hearing Lily interviewed on 702 radio on the way to Manly for a surf … and now even more so as my two sisters and I head to New York in May (never been and I’m in my 40th year) … so happy to hear of her success. Aussie aussie aussie oi oi oi!

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