On September 4, a French publisher Le Nouvel Attila published an Instagram post in which its author, Quebecer Kevin Lambert, present in the first list of the Goncourt, explained that he had used a sensitivity reader. Behind this word, hides an employee of a publishing house responsible for combing a text to defuse any word or sentence that could offend the reader: one imagines that it is the annotations relating to the physical, race, sexual orientation or religion that are the object of the attention of the "readers of sensitivity".
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Kevin Lambert justified himself by explaining that he wanted to make sure that he did not "fall into certain traps of the representation of black people by white auteur.es" (sic). He added that "sensitive reading, contrary to what reactionaries say, is not censorship." To this admission, a first in literature, Nicolas Mathieu, Goncourt 2018, reacted, calling on writers to "work", "take their risk", "without guardianship or police".
"It's a stupid controversy," swept the president of the Goncourt jury, Didier Decoin. When you are an author, you have the right to call on whomever you want to proofread a text. A way like any other to put out the fire. Yes, but the matter is serious. First, because sensitivity readers are not mere readers; Their expertise is not literary but moral. "It is bad faith to make believe that monitoring your text is natural. They are thought cops," says one publisher. "They sift through the texts of an ideology to stick their reading grid of the world, it's mind-boggling!" says another. The Canadairs of Decoin are in vain, because the question has already agitated the edition for some time.
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