Marie N’Diaye became the first black women to win France’s top literary prize, the Goncourt Prize, reported Agence France yesterday. While the prize comes with a token of 10 euros, the winners of the Goncourt go on to obtain celebrity status in the Francophone world.
“I am very happy to be a woman receiving the Goncourt,” the elegant young woman, hair pulled back in a chignon, told reporters at the award ceremony in a Paris restaurant. “The book’s success was already a miracle of sorts.”
“This prize is an unexpected reward for 25 years of persistence.”
N’Diaye won for her novel Trois Femmes Puissantes (Three Powerful Women), which tells three stories set in Europe and Africa. Trois femmes puissantes (Three Powerful Women), weaves together the stories of three women: Norah, who arrives at her father’s home in Africa; Fanta, teaching French in Dakar, who is forced to follow her partner back to a miserable life in France, and Khady Demba, a young, penniless African widow who is trying to join her distant cousin Fanta in France.
“It’s a novel which speaks of the moral decay, the baseness of humanity, of suffering humanity, but which suggests, in the depths of misery, the possibility of redemption.”