Algerian Boualem Sansal and Tunisian Hédi Kaddour Take First French Literary Prize of the Season

It was announced this week that Boualem Sansal did not advance to the Goncourt or Renaudot shortlists with his popluar novel 2084. But the Académie française salved the wound today when they announced that Sansal did take — along with Tunisian author Hédi Kaddour —  the acadamy’s “Grand Prix du roman”:

2winnersThis is apparently the third time that the Academy has awarded its Grand Prize to a pair of novels. The prize comes with 10,000 euros.

Sansal’s controversial and best-selling 2084 made its way onto every major Francophone prize’s longlist this season. Set a hundred years after George Orwell’s 1984, it tells the story of a fictional “Abistan.” Although it’s been lauded by many French writers, including Michel Houellebecq, it has been received more critically by Algerian readers.

Kaddour’s Les Prépondérantsmeanwhile, did advance to the Goncourt’s four-book shortlist. It’s set in 1920s small-town Morocco, where Hollywood comes to make a film and worlds inevitably collide. The Tunisian author has, like Sansal, been previously translated into English: His Treason (2012) was translated by Marilyn Hacker and published by Yale University Press.

The Goncourt winner is set to be announced on November 3.

Previously on ArabLit:

The Failure of Sansal’s ‘2084’: Its Essential Optimism

Why Algerian Novelist Boualem Sansal’s ‘2084’ is a Sensation in France

Poems by Kaddour:

On Free Verse, trans. Hacker

On AGNItrans. Hacker