Maryse Condé from Guadeloupe, the alternative Nobel prize for Literature won. ‘Alternative’ because the real this year is not awarded after the #MeToo-scandals within the jury.
Condé was born in 1937 in the Caribbean Guadeloupe as the youngest of a family with 8 children. In 1953 she went to Paris to comparative literature to study at the Sorbonne. She graduated with a thesis about the stereotyping of blacks in the West-Indian literature.
Then worked in various West African countries as a teacher and spraakinstituten, including in Guinea, Ghana and Senegal.
Her global bestseller Segou; the ramparts , she wrote in 1984, in 1985, followed by Segou; the crumbled earth, for which they in 1987 the African LiBeratuurprijs got. Both works tell the history of the fall of the Bambara empire in present Mali in the nineteenth century and links this to the tragedy of the individual human being.
Since 1980, taught Condé in different West-European universities (including the Sorbonne) African Literature. With her second husband, the translator Richard Philcox, she now alternately in New York and Guadeloupe.
According to the jury, is the Winner of the ‘a great storyteller’. ‘She describes the ravages of colonialism and the chaos afterwards, in a precise language. Magic, dream, terror, and love are always present in her work. Fiction and reality are intertwined’.
This alternative Nobel prize is awarded by the Swedish librarians, the general public and a small jury of experts. They wanted their price a focus on the emphasis on diversity, inclusion, and democracy.
Other authors on the shortlist for the award were, among others, the Japanese succesauteur Haruki Murakami, the Vietnamese-Canadian Kim Thúy and fantasyschrijver Neil Gaiman. The selection was considerably younger and more feminine than the achievements of Nobel prize winners.