Abdellatif Laâbi Receives 2009 Goncourt Poetry Prize Today

It was early December when the yearly Prix Goncourt for poetry was announced, but the ceremony takes place on Jan. 12 of the new year. The prize is to a “francophone” poet, although Laâbi doesn’t like the term.

Of course, Abdellatif Laâbi does write in French (not Arabic), but Laâbi asserts he uses both languages in the process.

In an interview with Double Change, he says that what he does is not strictly “francophone.”

“I am perfectly bi-lingual: my birth-language is Arabic, my writing language is French. Perhaps what makes what I write unique is that the two cultures are intertwined. Even when I am writing in French, my Arabic language is there. There is a musicality in Arabic, and these words enter into my French texts. I think that people are not seeing the originality of this phenomenon which is currently world wide.”

More about Laabi from Nomadics.