By Chaimae Boulifa
Rabat – The Prix Renaudot, France’s esteemed literary award, has selected the literary works of two Moroccan authors, Mahi Binebine and Leïla Slimani, in its initial selection of 16 novels and five essays for this November’s prize, according to French news outlet Le Figaro.
The painter and novelist Binebine was favored for his novel ‘Le Fou du Roi’ (‘The King’s Jester’), inspired by his father’s life as a talented storyteller who entertained the late Moroccan King Hassan II until his death in 1999.
The novel recounts how Binebine’s father was loyal to the king and had rejected his son, Aziz, a soldier who participated in the 1971 coup attempt and was imprisoned in Morocco’s most brutal prison, Tazmamart.
The writer’s novel was selected in the 2017 Prix Renaudot spring’s selection among 16 other literary works.
Leïla Slimani, a French-Moroccan author, journalist, and recipient of the 2016 Goncourt Prize, was chosen by the jury of the Prix Renaudot for her essay ‘Sexe et Mensonges’ (‘Sex and Lies’).
By gathering testimonies from women about their sex life, Slimani’s essay deals with the theme of sexuality in the Moroccan kingdom.
In Novmeber 2016, the 35-year-old Slimani was awarded France’s top literary prize, the Prix Goncourt, for her novel entitled ‘Chanson Douce’ (‘Sweet Song’).
The novel tells the story leading up to a tragic crime, starting with a long flashback that portrays the killing of two small children by their baby-sitter in Paris.
From Algeria, Kaouther Adimi’s novel ‘Our Wealth’ and Salim Bachi’s essay ‘God, Allah, me and others’, as well as the Lebanese Charif Majdalani’s novel ‘The Emperor on Foot’, appear also on the 2017 Prix Renaudot’s initial selection.
The Prix Renaudot always announces its laureate on the first week of November at the Drouant restaurant in Paris, the same time and place as the Prix Goncourt.