Samar Yazbek’s ‘La Marcheuse’ Makes Prix Femina Longlist

Samar Yazbek’s La Marcheuse (المشّاءة), in French translation by the award-winning Khaled Osman, has made the 2018 Prix Femina longlist:

Yazbek’s La Marcheuse follows Rima, a girl from Damascus who cannot stop walking. The novel has made the first-round selections of the Prix Femina, one of France’s premier literary prizes. The fourteen novels were translated from nine different languages.

From a review in Livres Hebdo, translated by Yasmina Jraissati:

At first, we are disconcerted by Rima’s unstructured flow of words, addressed directly to the readers. We don’t know if she is simple-minded, traumatized or locked in a narrow mental cage. But it doesn’t matter, since Samar Yazbek embarks us on a destiny “always pushed forward by an irresistible force.” The power of life, literature, art and a look that seeks to broaden the horizon. “To make words dance on the blank page” is the power of this poignant novel.

The novel, published by Dar al-Adab in 2016, has not yet been translated into English.

The Prix Femina was created in 1904, and each year is decided by an all-woman jury. Fourteen translated books made this year’s longlist, along with fourteen in French.

This year’s Prix Femina will be awarded November 5, before the Goncourt, Renaudot, or Médicis — the other big French literary prizes.

The fourteen translated novels chosen by the Femina judges:

Je reste ici de Marco Balzano traduit de l’italien par Nathalie Bauer (Philippe Rey)

Taxi curaçao de Stefan Brijs traduit du néerlandais par Daniel Cunin (Héloïse d’Ormesson)

Le monarque des ombres de Javier Cercas traduit de l’espagnol par Aleksandar Grujicic, avec la collaboration de Karine Louesdon (Actes Sud)

Le bûcher de György Dragoman traduit du hongrois par Joëlle Dufeuilly (Gallimard)

La femme à part de Vivian Gornick traduit de l’anglais par Laetitia Devaux (Rivages)

Le cœur converti de Stefan Hertmans traduit du néerlandais par Isabelle Rosselin (Gallimard)

Forêt obscure de Nicole Krauss traduit de l’anglais par Paule Guivarch (l’Olivier)

La saison des fleurs de flamme d’Abubakar Adam Ibrahim traduit de l’anglais Marc Amfreville (l’Observatoire)

La neuvième heure d’Alice McDermott traduit de l’anglais par Cécile Arnaud (La table ronde)

Voyou d’Itamar Orlev traduit de l’hébreu par Laurence Sendrowicz (Seuil)

Asta de Jon Kalman Stefansson traduit de l’islandais par Eric Boury (Grasset)

My absolute darling de Gabriel Tallent (Gallmeister)

Les livres de Jakob d’Olga Tokarczuk traduit du polonais par Maryla Laurent (Noir sur blanc)

La marcheuse de Samar Yazbek traduit de l’arabe par Khaled Osman (Stock)


  1. Khaled Osman is an amazing translator (as far as i can tell as i’m not fully literate in Arabic)- he is responsible for the French version of Nael Eltoukhy’s Women of Karatina, and for most of Gamal Ghitany’s work in French translation (except for Zayni Barakat and Epitre des destinées), as well as The Dove’s Necklace by Raja Alem. If anyone reads French his translations are so worth it. He’s also a novelist in his own right, with two books available in French which also may be why i find his translations very smooth, fluid and not choppy. He manages to really create a singular, living voice in the books he translates. I pre-ordered La Marcheuse essentially based on him being the translator, and i’m hoping to get to it this weekend.

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