‘Return to Killybegs’ was penned by French journalist Sorj Chalandon who became a friend of Donaldson’s while working for the newspaper Libération in Belfast.
It won the Académie Française prize – France’s highest literary honour.
The journalist said he became sympathetic to the republican cause whilst covering the Troubles.
But Donaldson’s outing as a British agent had shocked him.
“It’s terrible to hear that one of your friends – a man you knew for years and years, the man who explained so much to you about Ireland and his struggle – was a traitor in his community,” said Mr Chalandon.
“I never said to myself, I want to write a novel about Denis, but I was so shocked, so disappointed, it was so painful. I said to myself, I will take this and write a novel about what it means to be betrayed by someone close to you.”
He said he was ‘deeply touched’ by winning the award but vowed never to write about Ireland again because of the sense of betrayal over the Donaldson affair.
The agent was shot dead by dissident republicans five years ago at a family cottage near Doochary.
Gardai are still hunting his killers with an inquest verdict set to go ahead next April after eight adjournments.
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