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PARIS: The American writer Alice McDermott’s novel The Ninth Hour was awarded France’s Prix Femina for the best foreign novel of the year on Monday.

The prize is awarded to the best French and foreign novels, written by a man or woman.

The Femina jury is composed exclusively of women writers and academics.

Established in 1904, the award was seen as a female answer to the Goncourt Prize, which did not go to a woman until 1944.

The Ninth Hour is McDermott’s eighth novel, and the seventh to be translated into French.

Set in Irish Brooklyn at the beginning of the 20th century, the novel follows the life of Sally, who is rescued from dire straits and raised by nuns.

McDermott’s work has been compared to that of Alice Munro, who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2013.

Three of her previous books — After This, At Weddings and Wakes and That Night — were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize.

Published in Dawn, November 6th, 2018