Earlier this week, the twenty-five title longlist for France’s Prix Médicis — fourteen written in French, eleven in translation — was announced, and it includes one title translated from the Arabic, Samar Yazbek’s Les portes du néant, translated by Rania Samara:
Les portes du néant made the “foreign books” longlist. Yazbek’s book, translated into English as The Crossing by Nashwa Gowanlock and Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp (2015), has received a good deal of attention in the French press.
This is the season of literary prizes. Both the Goncourt and Renadout have Arab voices on their longlists: Algerian-French writer Magyd Cherfi’s Ma part de Gaulois is on the Goncourt longlist, as is Algerian-Moroccan-French author Leila Slimani’s Chanson, which also made the Renadout longlist. The Renadout is, as M.A. Orthofer notes, “second fiddle” to the Goncourt.
Slimani has previously won Morocco’s Mamounia literary prize for her novel In the Garden of the Ogre, about a woman who’s a sex addict. It doesn’t seem that any of her work has been translated into English.