Eric Vuillard on French fiction and modern politics

The celebrated writer Eric Vuillard joined Philippe Sands QC to discuss his latest work set during the Anschluss – Germany's occupation of Austria in 1938. 

The Order of the Day was originally written in French and entitled L'Ordre du Jour. "I read it cover to cover in a single afternoon," said Sands. 

The novel, set in the turbulent run-up to the World War Two, depicts the political turmoil that swept through Europe. Its narrative is a dark account of the well known history. More than a novel, it's described as a récit - an historical essay with literary flourishes. It won the Prix Goncourt in 2017. 

Vuillard read passages from his work followed by detailed explainers of their relevance to the current political landscape. He read: "We never fall twice into the same abyss but we always fall in the same way." 

The Hay Medals have been awarded since the 2012 Olympics for excellence in poetry, prose, illustration and journalism. They are designed by local artisan silversmith Christopher Hamilton.

Picture by Chris Athanasiou

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