Youssouf Amine Elalamy could become the first Moroccan to win the Francophonie Five Continents Prize.
The Moroccan writer’s October 2019 novel “C’est beau, la guerre” (War is beautiful) has been shortlisted for the much-coveted prize in the Francophone world.
The novel tells the story of a young actor who flees war in his country. The actor then finds himself alone in a refugee camp and meets various characters with diverse backgrounds.
As the majority of refugees in the camp lost their loved ones during the war, the novel’s hero decides to use his acting skills to cheer them up and support them through their mourning.
“For his tenth novel, Youssouf Amine Elalamy revisits the themes of mourning and paying tribute to the dead… ‘C’est beau, la guerre’ and its chorus of protagonists are intended as a tribute to refugees. The author wanted to describe a different reality to the destructive images of conflict published online by embodying the consciousness of these men and women,” says the novel’s official synopsis.
In June 2020, the Moroccan novel earned the Orange Book Prize in Africa. The newly-established prize seeks to “promote new literary talent in Africa and support local publishers.”
Francophonie Five Continents Prize
The International Francophonie Organization (OIF) announced the nomination of Youssouf Amine Elalamy’s novel on October 1.
The selection committee, which received 132 applications, chose 10 books from nine different countries. The shortlisted authors are from Morocco, France, Cameroon, Algeria, Mauritius, Vietnam, Belgium, Canada, and Rwanda. The competing novels this year treat the themes of migration, memory, and identity.
Launched in 2001, the Francophonie Five Continents Prize yearly awards a fictional book that portrays the cultural diversity of French-speaking countries. Novels from across the world are eligible for the prize.
This year’s winning author will earn a €15,000 cash prize. An international jury, chaired by French-Egyptian author Paula Jacques will announce the winner before the end of 2020. Meanwhile, the award ceremony will take place in the first months of 2021 in Tunis.