Organizers announced yesterday that Abdelaziz Baraka Sakin and Xavier Luffin had won the 2020 Prix de la Littérature Arabe for Luffin’s translation of الجنقو (Les Jango):

The book was selected from a shortlist of seven that brought together two translations and five works written originally in French.

The prize, now in its eighth edition, rewards literary works by Arab writers in French. This year’s win by Abdelaziz Baraka Sakin and Xavier Luffin means the prize has gone to a translation for the second year in a row.

The jury also gave a special mention to Lebanese author Dima Abdallah’s novel Mauvaises herbes (Weeds).

This year’s jury is made up of a range of authors, translators, and other luminaries. It was co-chaired by Pierre Leroy and Alexandre Najjar, and other judges were: Nada Al Hassan, Mahi
Binebine, Mustapha Bouhayati, Gilles Gauthier, Kaoutar Harchi, Houda Ibrahim, and Nathalie Sfeir.

The jury said, of Les Jango, that it was “a novel of surprising verve and political force,” wherein the author “knits together fantasy and humor in a very skillfully constructed plot.” The jury further highlighted the excellent work of translator Xavier Luffin.

The book, which is also in English translation by Adil Babikir as The Jungo: Stakes of the Earth, won the prestigious Tayeb Salih Prize at the Khartoum Book Fair in 2009, when it was first released.

As for Dima Abdallah’s novel, the jury’s official statement notes that it was a “touching first novel, very well written, which tells the story of a double loss: that of a country and that of a father.”

Abdelaziz Baraka Sakin and Dima Abdallah will be the guests of honor at two special literary meetings of the Arab World Institute, on December 5, 2020 and February 27, 2021.

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