One of the Caribbean’s most acclaimed authors, Maryse Condé of Guadeloupe, has won the “alternative” Nobel Prize for her writing.
Announced on Oct. 12, the award replaces this year’s official Nobel Prize in Literature, which was postponed to 2019 following a scandal involving sexual misconduct. The alternative honour, formally called The New Academy Prize, was set up by “a wide range of knowledgeable individuals” who accepted the nominations of authors from Sweden’s librarians.
The New Academy then urged the public to choose from a list of 47 writers, and about 33,000 people around the world voted, according to the organizers. Condé emerged the winner from a resulting shortlist of four authors that included Vietnamese-Canadian writer Kim Thúy, British writer Neil Gaiman, and Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami (who later withdrew his name to “concentrate on his writing”).
Condé, who writes in French, is the author of critically praised books such as Segou (Segu), Une saison à Rihata (A Season in Rihata) and Moi, Tituba sorcière… Noire de Salem (I, Tituba: Black Witch of Salem). Her work has been translated into many languages.
In its citation, The New Academy said: “Maryse Condé is a grand storyteller. Her authorship belongs to world literature. In her work, she describes the ravages of colonialism and the postcolonial chaos in a language which is both precise and overwhelming. The magic, the dream and the terror is, as also love, constantly present.”
Condé has previously won literary prizes in France, of which Guadeloupe is an overseas department, or part of the French Caribbean.
In a 2010 interview with fellow Caribbean writer Elizabeth Nunez, published in the UNESCO Courrier, Condé said she writes about slavery, Africa, the condition of black people throughout the world” as a means “to order” her thoughts, “to understand the world, and to be at peace with” herself.
|Maryse Condé. (Photo: MEDEF)|
“I write to try to find answers to the questions I ask myself. Writing for me is a type of therapy, a way to be safe and sound,” she said in the interview.
On receiving the alternative Nobel, Condé said she wished to share it with her family, her friends and, “above all, with the Guadeloupean people who will be so thrilled and touched by seeing me receive this award”.
The prize will officially be awarded during a “grand celebration” in Stockholm Dec. 9, according to the New Academy, which said the organization “will be dissolved in December”. - SWAN
For more information, see: https://www.dennyaakademien.com/