Algerian novelist Boualem Sansal’s 2084 scored its fifth longlisting for a major literary prize yesterday when the novel found itself on the 15-book longlist for the French-language Prix Femina, along with Lebanese novelist Charif Majdalani:
Lebanese novelist Najwa Barakat, meanwhile, made the Femina’s 17-book foreign-language longlist with The Language of Secrets, translated from the Arabic by Philippe Vigreux. Barakat’s novel — initially published in 2004 — was also shortlisted this year for the French-language “Prix de la Litterature Arabe.” It has not yet been translated into English; indeed, of Barakat’s works, only her wonderful, terrifying Oh, Salaam!, trans. Luke Leafgren, has been published in English translation.
The Femina is one of France’s key literary prizes, awarded each fall. It’s distinguished from others by its all-female jury.
With this longlisting, Sansal’s 2084 has now made five literary longlists. In addition to the Femina, the novel has also been longlisted for the Goncourt, the Renaudot, the Médicis, and the Flore.
Lebanese writer Charif Majdalani is meanwhile longlisted for his Villa des Femmes. Majdalani’s previous novel, Le Dernier Seigneur de Marsad (The Last Lord of Marsad), made the longlist for the Prix Médicis.
Last year’s French-language Femina went to the Haitian writer Yanick Lahens for his Moon Bath, and the foreign-language Femina to the Israeli Zeruya Shalev for What Remains of Our Lives.
Boualem Sansal: “Arab World is Dead, Iran Will Lead Islam”