The Prix Goncourt – the oldest and most prestigious literary prize in France – has been awarded to 31-year-old Mohamed Mbougar Sarr from Senegal. He’s the youngest winner since 1976 and the first from sub-Saharan Africa.
Critics have been raving about The Most Secret Memory of Men, his novel about a young Senegalese writer living in Paris. The jury made a unanimous decision to award Mbougar Sarr the prize after just one round of voting, calling his work “a hymn to literature”.
The prize will bring him literary fame and huge book sales, says Caroline D. Laurent, a specialist in Francophone African literature in France. “Winning the Prix Goncourt should be viewed as African literature finally being recognised for its literary qualities.
One should focus on this (late) recognition and perhaps question why, faced with the many great novels by African writers, Mbougar Sarr’s win is so rare. The Most Secret Memory of Men is quite subversively brilliant in denouncing, through literature, the literary capture of African writers by former colonial powers.”
SOURCE: THE CONVERSATION