Sunday, November 8, 2009

32. The Prix Goncourt

Dear Followers,

It's been a hectic and unusual week, brightened by good book sales and growing numbers of YouTube viewers. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Today I'd like to introduce you to Marie NDiaye, the 42 year old woman who just won the award for the best new work in French literature In true Self-Empowered Woman style, NDiaye didn't meet her father until she was 15 years old (Chapter One: No Paternal Safety Net). Currently the author of a dozen books, she began writing at age twelve (Chapter Two: An Early Sense of Direction).

She has also written a number of plays, one of which was only the second play by a female writer to ever be taken into the repertoire of the Comedie francaise. In 2001, she won France's Femina literary prize for her novel "Rosie Carpe." When she was only 21, she wrote a 200 page novel ("Comedie Classique") that was made up of a single sentence.

Her novel, "Trois femmes puissants" (Three Powerful Women) is the story of a French lawyer with roots in West Africa, a young Senegalese women who tries to immigrate to Europe illegally, and a Senegalese woman who lives in France. NDiaye grew up in Pithiviers, a town south of Paris, and has told reporters "I grew up in a world that was 100% French. My African roots don't mean much, except for that people knew of them because of the color of my skin and my name."

NDiaye's mother was French, her father, Senegalese, and today the writer lives in Berlin. She is the first black woman to ever win the Prix Goncourt; previous winners of the 105 year old award include Marguerite Duras, Marcelle Proust and Simone de Beauvoir.

Looking forward to your comments...

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