The literary prize for college students will finally be awarded in 2019, without Amazon

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A text of Cécile Gladel with Catherine Richer

As in previous years, the award will be funded by the Marc Bourgie Foundation. "The Foundation has decided to move forward for the well-being of young people. We put a brake on our vision, our projects. We go back because we want to keep the price alive. We are penalized, "explains the award coordinator, Sylvie Bovet, in a telephone interview.

The latter pointed out that the Amazon company, which was to be the main sponsor for the price in 2019, is no longer a partner. "We did not give in under pressure; we made a decision. It's a big ideological debate that exceeds the price, no matter the arguments, "adds Sylvie Bovet.

At the announcement of the entry into scene of Amazon, several authors, finalists and publishers had expressed their discomfort with the American giant against which the independent bookstores have to fight. In an open letter, the five writers nominated for the prize in 2019 – Karoline Georges, Kevin Lambert, Jean-Christophe Réhel, Lula Carballo and Dominique Fortier – had expressed their "immense discomfort" given the "dangerous competition" that giant Amazon practices against bookstores in Quebec.

The Collegiate Literary Prize logo Photo: Marc Bourgie Foundation

The organizers of the prize did not give an answer on the financial participation of the Ministry of Culture and Communications, and that of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education.

The Marc Bourgie Foundation gives itself the next year to evaluate the situation. Can Amazon be back as a sponsor? " No idea. We do not know which avenue we will take, "adds Sylvie Bovet.

In an interview with The Canadian Press, the president of the Marc Bourgie Foundation and cofounder of the Collegiate Literary Prize, Claude Bourgie Bovet, affirmed that the organization "will work to try to do what we did with Amazon, to find a partner both monetary and supportive, to develop the price and ensure its sustainability ".

For its part, Amazon Canada sent this written statement by email: "Amazon has long supported the literary community here, and we will continue to explore ways to recognize authors and support literature in Quebec and elsewhere in the country. . "

With a $ 5,000 scholarship, the College Literary Award aims to promote current literature among college students. It encourages the exercise of critical judgment during the reading of recent Quebec works.

More than 800 young readers from 62 CEGEPs and colleges across Quebec will be able to read the finalist books from January to award their prize in April 2019, which will be presented at the Québec International Book Fair.

Finalists for the 2019 College Literary Award

Creatures of chance, by Lula Carballo (The August Horse)
Cities of paper, by Dominique Fortier (Alto)
Of synthesis, from Karoline Georges (Alto)
Quarrel from Roberval, by Kevin Lambert (Heliotrope)
What we breathe on Tatouine, by Jean-Christophe Réhel (Del Busso)