Bessora wins Prix Kourouma 2024

Bessora’s novel Vous, les ancêtres was announced as the winner of Prix Kourouma 2024 in Geneva, Switzerland on Friday, March 8, 2024.

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, Kourouma passed away and the Salon du Livre Genève (Geneva Book Fair) set up a literary prize in his honour the following year. Awarded annually, 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 – with 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.

The jury for 2023 comprises the President of Literary Criticism for Le Temps Isabelle Rüf 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 are 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 jury announced the longlist on December 17, 2023 before the shortlist was made public on February 5. This year’s winner announced in Geneva on Friday is Vous, les ancêtres (English: You The Ancestors) written by Bessora and published by J.C. Lattès. Vous, les ancêtres is a novel that navigates between historical truth and magical realism, telling the story of a woman, orphaned and lame, reduced to slavery, who aspires to a better future for herself and her family. This prize is accompanied by an endowment of 5,000 Swiss francs.

Here is the award winner speaking in Geneva.

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One response to “Bessora wins Prix Kourouma 2024”

  1. […] Kourouma Prize named for the legendary Cote d’Ivoire author. Some of the people who won it are Bessora, Scholastique Mukasonga, Tierno Monénembo,  Mutt-Lon, Mohamed Mbougar Sarr, Mbarek Ould Beyrouk, […]

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