Our newest book group, WICE's "Café Littéraire: Savoring French Literature in English" offers a unique and enriching literary experience, focusing exclusively on celebrated French novels that have been honored with either the Prix Femina or the Prix Goncourt (and that are available in English).

These prestigious awards represent the pinnacle of French literary achievement, and our book group provides the opportunity to explore these masterpieces in the original French or in English translations. The selected works offer a window into the rich tapestry of French culture, history, and literary tradition, allowing members to immerse themselves in the eloquence and artistry of France's most esteemed authors.

The group gathers on the 4th Friday of each month between 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm. Join us as we journey through the pages of these award-winning novels, connecting with the stories and voices that have shaped and defined the French literary landscape.

A list of sample candidate novels is listed below. This list is by no means exhaustive or exclusive, and any other novel that meets the criteria is open for inclusion.

Note: Our book reading groups are among the most popular activities in WICE, and available seats get taken quickly. We will reserve two seats each month in this group for new WICE members. If no new members are not signed up four days before the meeting, we will open up those seats to all members.

If you would like more information or if you have questions, please email:


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Sample Candidate Novels

Title (French) Title (English) Author Year Prize
L'Anomalie The Anomaly Hervé le Tellier 2020 Goncourt
Tous les hommes n'habitent pas le monde de la même façon All Men Do Not Live in the World in the Same Way Jean-Paul Dubois 2019 Goncourt
Leurs enfants après eux And Their Children After Them Nicolas Mathieu 2018 Goncourt
Nos richesses Our Riches Kaouther Adimi 2017 Prix Femina
L'Ordre du Jour The Order of the Day Éric Vuillard 2017 Goncourt
L'Art de perdre The Art of Losing Alice Ziniter 2017 Prix Femina
Chanson Douce Lullaby Leila Slimani 2016 Goncourt
Le Grand Marin The Great Swimmer Catherine Poulin 2015 Prix Femina
Parfum d'Ink Scent of Ink Patrick Suskind 2010 Goncourt
Les Hautes Lumières The High Lights Marie Nimier 1987 Prix Femina
L'Oeuvre au noir The Abyss Marguirite Yourcenar 1968 Prix Femina
Mèmoires d'une jeune fille rangée Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter Simone de Beauvoir 1958 Prix Femina


    • 15 Dec 2023
    • 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
    • 120 rue la Boétie, 75008 (ground floor), 75008
    • 7

    Winner of the 2009 Prix Femina, this semi-autobiographical book delves into the complexities of mental illness and the relationship between a daughter and her father, who suffers from bipolar disorder.

    The novel is structured uniquely, with each chapter titled after an alphabetical letter, each representing a different aspect or identity of her father. This stylistic choice reflects the fragmented and multifaceted nature of both her father's personality and the impact of his illness on their lives. The narrative blends reality with fiction, philosophy with personal narrative, creating a poignant and introspective exploration of identity, memory, and the struggle to understand a loved one's mental illness.

    Lauréat du prix Femina 2009, ce livre semi-autobiographique aborde les complexités de la maladie mentale et la relation entre une fille et son père, qui souffre de troubles bipolaires.

    Le roman est structuré de manière unique, chaque chapitre étant intitulé d'après une lettre alphabétique, chacune représentant un aspect ou une identité différente de son père. Ce choix stylistique reflète la nature fragmentée et multiforme de la personnalité de son père et l'impact de sa maladie sur leur vie. Le récit mêle réalité et fiction, philosophie et récit personnel, créant une exploration poignante et introspective de l'identité, de la mémoire et de la lutte pour comprendre la maladie mentale d'un être cher.

    Gwenaëlle Aubry's work is known for its deep philosophical undertones, influenced by her background in philosophy. "Personne" has been recognized for its literary merit and has received critical acclaim for its insightful and empathetic portrayal of mental illness and its effects on family dynamics.

    L'œuvre de Gwenaëlle Aubry est connue pour ses nuances philosophiques profondes, influencées par sa formation en philosophie. "Personne" a été reconnu pour ses qualités littéraires et a été salué par la critique pour sa description empathique de la maladie mentale et de ses effets sur la dynamique familiale.

    The door code and telephone number will be sent with the 1-day reminder email.

    About the Organizer

    Victoria Wilhelm, who will be leading the discussion, is a graduate student in French Literature and Culture at the Sorbonne, in Paris.

    • 26 Jan 2024
    • 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM
    • 120 rue la Boétie, 75008 (ground floor)
    • 9

    Naïma is a young French woman working in a Parisian art gallery. She represents the third generation of her family, whose roots trace back to Algeria.

    Throughout the novel, Naïma grapples with questions of identity, belonging, and the complex history of her family. Her grandfather, who immigrated to France from Algeria, carries with him the memories and traumas of the Algerian War of Independence, a subject that has always been taboo in their family.

    Driven by a need to understand her family's past and her place within it, Naïma embarks on a journey to explore her Algerian heritage. This takes her to Algeria, where she learns about her family's history and the broader context of Franco-Algerian relations.

    Deriving its title from the first line of Elizabeth Bishop's seminal poem "One Art," Alice Zeniter's "The Art of Losing" also won the Dublin Literary Award,  the 2017 Prix Goncourt des Lycéens, the Porte Dorée Literary Prize, and Le Monde's Literary Prize.

    Naïma est une jeune femme française qui travaille dans une galerie d'art parisienne. Elle représente la troisième génération de sa famille, dont les racines remontent à l'Algérie.

    Tout au long du roman, Naïma est confrontée à des questions d'identité, d'appartenance et à l'histoire complexe de sa famille. Son grand-père, qui a immigré d'Algérie en France, porte en lui les souvenirs et les traumatismes de la guerre d'indépendance algérienne, un sujet qui a toujours été tabou dans la famille.

    Poussée par le besoin de comprendre le passé de sa famille et la place qu'elle y occupe, Naïma entreprend un voyage à la découverte de son héritage algérien. Elle se rend en Algérie, où elle découvre l'histoire de sa famille et le contexte plus large des relations franco-algériennes.

    Tirant son titre du premier vers du poème fondateur d'Elizabeth Bishop "One Art", "The Art of Losing" d'Alice Zeniter a également remporté le Dublin Literary Award, le prix Goncourt des lycéens 2017, le prix littéraire de la Porte Dorée et le prix littéraire du Monde.

    Registration opens on 16 December 2023.

    The door code and telephone number will be sent with the 1-day reminder email.

    • 23 Feb 2024
    • 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM
    • To Be Announced
    • 8

    In this 2018 Goncourt Prize winner, author Éric Vuillard follows the actions of European politicians and business leaders in the run up to World War II.

    The novel tells the fascinating account of the failed diplomacy, broken relationships, and the catastrophic momentum that led to the war.

    The leaders of German industry—believing they will prosper under the Nazi regime—agree to lend their support to Adolph Hitler. Of course, things don't go entirely as planned, and as on thing leads to another, the world slides inexorably towards the abyss.

    Not quite fiction, but not quite fact, the French describe it as a récit, while the English newspaper The Guardian calls it "an historical essay with literary flourishes."

    The Guardian said: "However you decide to categorise it, this is a thoroughly gripping and mesmerising work of black comedy and political disaster. It seems designed single-mindedly to remind us that, as it says, “Great catastrophes often creep up on us in tiny steps.”

    • 22 Mar 2024
    • 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM
    • To Be Announced
    • 9

    "L'Œuvre au Noir" is a historical novel chronicling the life of the fictional character Zeno, a 16th-century physician, alchemist, and philosopher.

    Set during the Renaissance, a time of great scientific and philosophical upheaval, the novel delves into Zeno's quest for knowledge in various fields such as medicine, alchemy, and humanism. His intellectual pursuits, often in conflict with religious orthodoxy, lead him to face persecution and personal struggles.

    Yourcenar's novel explores themes of intellectual freedom, existential quest, and the tension between science and religion. Her prose weaves historical accuracy with profound character insight, capturing the zeitgeist of the Renaissance.

    "L'Œuvre au Noir" is a complex and richly layered novel that portrays the life of an intellectual pioneer in an era teetering between medieval superstition and the dawn of modernity.

    Registration opens on Friday, 24 November.