Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse wins Prix Kourouma 2023.

Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse’s novel Consolée was named the winner of Prix Kourouma 2023 at Salon Du Livre Geneva, Switzerland on Friday, March 24, 2023.

Ahmadou Kourouma was a legendary Ivorian novelist of many titles including Les Soleils des indépendances (1968), Le diseur de verité (1972), and the most famous Allah n’est pas oblige (2000) which was translated to Allah Is Not Obliged. The last title won him awards like the Grand prix Jean-Giono. Prix Renaudot, and Prix Goncourt des Lycéens.

In 2003, the writer tragically passed away and the Salon du Livre Genève (Geneva Book) Fair set up a literary prize in his honour in the following year. Awarded each year, the Prix Ahmadou Kourouma rewards a French-speaking, African or African-born author from sub-Saharan Africa, for a fictional work – novel, story, or short story – including the spirit of independence, lucidity, and clairvoyance in the vein of the literary and humanist heritage bequeathed by the Ivorian novelist. It has been won by among others, Scholastique Mukasonga, Tierno Monénembo,  Mutt-Lon, Mohamed Mbougar Sarr, Mbarek Ould Beyrouk, Max Lobe, Wilfried N’Sondé, David Diop, Hemley Boum, Blaise Ndala, and Osvalde Lewat.

The jury for prize featured the President Isabelle Rüf the literary critic for Le Temps alongside Vice-president Romuald Fonkoua who is a University Professor and Paris-Sorbonne University Director of the International Centre for Francophone Studies. Also on the jury were writer, poet, and slammer Timba Bema; author and University of Basel professor Isabelle Chariatte; Professor UNIL Christine Le Quellec Cottier; and Literary critic and professor of French literature at Sarah Lawrence College Boniface Mongo Mboussa. The honorary president was Jacques Chevrier, the Emeritus professor at the Sorbonne and president of the ADELF, the association of French-language writers.

The shortlist for this year featured the following work;

  • Deux secondes d’air qui brûle (Seuil), Diaty Diallo
  • Peine des Faunes (Julliard), Annie Lulu
  • Il n’y a pas d’arc-en-ciel au paradis (Hélice Hélas), Noël Nétonon Ndjékéry
  • Consolée (Autrement), Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse
  • La dissociation (Seuil), Nadia Yala Kisukidi
Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse receives her award from Romuald Fonkoua. Photo/Pierre Albouy
Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse receives her award from Romuald Fonkoua. Photo/Pierre Albouy

The prize was conferred on Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse’s Consolée on Friday, March 24 at the Salon Africain in Geneva. A work as poetic as it is moving, Consolée brings together the colonial past and the condition of the children of immigrants. Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse was born and raised in Butare, in southern Rwanda. A Project coordinator for MSF, program manager at Samusocial International, research assistant at the University of Ottawa, and project manager for AIDES also leads literary meetings in Bordeaux where she lives.

She receives CHF 5,000 for winning the award.


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One response to “Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse wins Prix Kourouma 2023.

  1. […] In 2003, Kourouma passed away and the Salon du Livre Genève (Geneva Book Fair) set up a literary prize in his honour in the following year. Awarded each year, the Prix Ahmadou Kourouma rewards a French-speaking, African or African-born author from sub-Saharan Africa, for a fictional work – novel, story or short story – including the spirit of independence, lucidity and clairvoyance in the vein of the literary and humanist heritage bequeathed by the Ivorian novelist. It has been won by among others, Scholastique Mukasonga, Tierno Monénembo,  Mutt-Lon, Mohamed Mbougar Sarr, Mbarek Ould Beyrouk, Max Lobe, Wilfried N’Sondé, David Diop, Hemley Boum, Blaise Ndala, Osvalde Lewat, and Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse. […]

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