Seven big French literary prizes announce their longlists in September, and a number of works by Arab authors have made the first cut, with the most longlistings to Algerian author Kaouther Adimi’s Nos richesses (Our Riches):
Our Riches has been longlisted for the 2017 Interallié, the 2017 Médicis, the 2017 Goncourt, and the 2017 Renaudot. This novel — like Kamel Daoud’s popular and prize-winning debut The Meursault Investigation — revisits Camus through his first publisher, Edmond Charlot, and an Algerian repainting his old bookshop in 2017.
Kamel Daoud’s sophomore novel, Zabor is on one list, the 2017 Interallié.
Veteran novelist Charif Majdalani’s new novel, L’empereur à pied (The Emperor on Foot), is on the 2017 Femina and the 2017 Renaudot longlists, and was also longlisted for the FNAC in August. Majdalani’s brilliant, gripping Caravanserail appeared in English as Moving the Palace, rendered in beautifully textured English by Edward Gauvin. This newest novel, L’empereur à pied, is another historical tale that follows Khanjar Jbeili, nicknamed The Emperor on Foot. According to the publisher, the prosperous “emperor” imposes a rule on his descendants, that only one per generation is allowed to marry and have children.
Moroccan novelist Mahi Binebine’s Le fou du roi (King’s Fool) made the 2017 Renaudot longlist. The novel is inspired by his father’s life as king’s jester, much like Youssef Fadel’s A Beautiful White Cat Walks With Me, which was translated by Alexander Elinson. It will certainly be interesting to read the two books against each other.