Controversial writer wins top French award

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Michel Houellebecq, the best-selling French author who has fanned controversy with his writings and comments on women and Islam, has won France's most coveted literary prize.

Houellebecq won the Prix Goncourt, which had eluded him for years, for his latest work, La Carte et Le Territoire, which translates as The Map and The Territory.

"I am very happy ... After all, I think it was necessary in my life. In any case, it's a very good thing," Houellebecq said.