Earlier this month, the Prix Orange du Livre en Afrique announced their second-ever winner. The prize went to Moroccan writer Youssouf Amine Elalamy for his novel C’est beau, la guerre:

The Prix Orange du Livre was launched in November 2018, an annual prize for a fictional work written in French by an African writer, brought out by a publishing house based on the African continent. The winner receives a cash prize of 10,000 euros as well a campaign to promote their book.

Two works of Elalamy’s have appeared in English translation: A Moroccan in New York and Sea Drinkers, published in a single volume translated by John Liechty, and he publishes both in French and in Moroccan Darija. He is currently a professor in the English Department at Ibn-Tofail University in Kenitra.

According to James Murua’s Literary Blog, finalists for the 2020 edition were announced on March 5 by a multinational jury chaired by Véronique Tadjo.

In a prepared statement, the judges said:

“[T]he narrator of the story takes us into the heart of a cruel war, where terror reigns and hope no longer exists.  . . . . The end of the novel, on which the jury discussed a lot, questions the place of art and creators in the face of the deepest dramas experienced, and provoked, by humanity. This book speaks to the heart and to reason.”

The six-book shortlist included books from five different countries:

  • Abdellah Baida, Testament d’un livre, Editions Marsam (Morocco)
  • Ndèye Fatou Fall Dieng, Ces moments-Là , L’Harmattan Senegal (Senegal)
  • Youssouf Amine Elalamy, C’est beau, la guerre, Editions Le Fennec (Morocco)
  • Mostefa Harkat, Le retour au Moyen Age, Editions AFAQ (Algeria)
  • Ahmed Mahfoudh, Les jalousies de la rue Andalouse, Arabesques éditions (Tunisia)
  • Paul-Marie Traore, Jeu de dames, Editions Tombouctou (Mali)

Elalamy has received a number of previous literary prizes, including best travel account from the British Council International for his book Un Morocain à New York in 1999, the Grand Prix Atlas in 2001 for his novel Les Clandestins, and also the “Le Plaisir de lire” Prize 2010.

Also read:

Youssouf Amine Elalamy, using literature to recover the missing human dimension

The Aesthetics of the City: A Conversation with Youssouf Amine Elalamy

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