The Nominees Are…

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Jury Selection

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All the great figures of literature were there. An audience of specialists in the arts, now standing in front of the canapés set out for the cocktails, had invited them to a ceremony where the literary genre par excellence would be chosen.
Each one was confident in their own art and that they were at the top of the bill. Autobiography, who was shameless, was tearing off her clothes, shouting, “I..., I…, I…” Drama was putting on an act, “I am the only one whose words can be matched with actions, so judge according to the evidence brought into play.” Poetry pretended to be above it all but had nevertheless come down from her ivory tower, so that she could get a better view. On a bench, Essay was weighing up his chances, afraid of not reaching a satisfactory conclusion.
But the one who was the most noticeable was Novel. Fat and wide, he drew an audience around him. He was full of himself and seemed never to stop. They drank in his words along with the champagne, whose bubbles were the only ones to be allowed in, cartoons having been rejected as lacking in stature. We were all genres moving in the same circles, after all! 
That was why Short Story surprised everyone when she entered the reception. Although not lacking in character, Short Story felt intimidated. She even thought her presence there must be due to a misunderstanding, an ad hoc Goncourt prize. She shrank back inside herself, especially when she came face to face with Novel. He weighed tomes and tomes whereas she, short on pages, was only a few pounds.
“What?” thundered Novel rebelliously, “How are you entitled to be here? This insignificant one is not even able to quote us chapter and verse!” Poetry refused to imbibe with her. Autobiography cried out with all her ego, “As far back as I can remember, such a scandal has never been seen!” As for Drama, he categorically refused to engage in dialogue with her. The first time her editor had let her out on her own, only for Short Story to be greeted in such an unfriendly way! 
Essay was reflecting on what he was going to say on the subject of his competitor when the results were announced: Short Story had won first prize! In the heaps of pages by everyone after her election, she tried to read her thank-you speech despite the ink streaming from her eyes. She had to insist on silence from her jealous elders several times. That was hardly surprising, she was a Shhhhhhhort Story!

Translated by Wendy Cross


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