The novelist Christian Giudicelli died at the age of 79, announced, Tuesday, May 17, to AFP the president of the jury of the Renaudot prize, Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud, confirming information from the daily Le Monde. Giudicelli was still a member of the jury for this prestigious French literary prize. He received it in 1986 for his novel Seaside Resort, whose hero is a young Portuguese man, a handyman in a hotel, an occasional prostitute, who dreams of America.

In 2020, Christian Giudicelli found himself at the heart of the investigation targeting his longtime friend, the writer Gabriel Matzneff, accused of raping minors. The latter, of which he was the editor within Gallimard, had described him as a sex tourist, accompanying him to Manila to find boys. The affair cast a shadow over the Renaudot prize: Matzneff won the essay prize in 2013 for Séraphin, c’est la fin!, a collection of articles in which he claimed his pedophilia, among other considerations. Since then, Renaudot has endeavored to restore its image by choosing women as laureates and as jurors. Some had also called on Giudicelli to resign from his jury duty.

Born in Nîmes on June 27, 1942 into a family of civil servants, Christian Giudicelli was a novelist and publisher. In his youth, he also dreamed of being an actor and wrote several plays, including Première Jeunesse, performed in 1987 by Annie Girardot and Odette Soyeux. He was also a producer and commentator at France Culture.