For her novel “Les impatientes” published by Éditions Emmanuel Collas, the writer from Cameroon, Djaïli Amadou Amal, won the Goncourt prize for high school students on Wednesday, December 2, 2020. In her work, the feminist activist recounts the conditions of women in the Sahel and the violence they are often victims of.
The award ceremony was held exceptionally this year by video conference due to Covid-19. The 45-year-old laureate said she is satisfied and has hope for the future because young people are beginning to become aware of certain social realities.
The author herself was forcibly married at the age of 17, and says she is reassured by the interest of readers in such sensitive subjects as early marriage, physical or moral domestic violence and polygamy.
The winner was born in Maroua in the department of Diamaré located in the Extreme North of Cameroon. She is the daughter of a Cameroonian father and an Egyptian mother.
This book, which partly traces his life, is a revival of his novel published in Cameroon in 2017 under the title of Munyal, a term that means “patience” in the Peul language. A novel for which she also won the Orange Book Prize in Africa in 2019.
Very attached to his native land, Cameroon, Djaïly Amadou Amal intends to break the taboos and denounce the injustices as well as the abuses committed there.
Here is his full speech on his preselection for this prestigious rix: “Since my pre-selection on September 15, at the Prix Goncourt, the most prestigious award in French literature, I have experienced some of the most breathtaking and exceptional moments of my literary life. A campaign that brought me, stage of selection after stage, to the ultimate historical march for Cameroonian and African literature. I thank my publisher Emmanuelle Collas Galaade and his entire team, as well as all those, from Cameroon, Africa and the world, who accompanied me and supported me on this very trying but exhilarating journey. Together we have written a historical page of Cameroonian and African literature, which is above all the recognition of the central struggle of my literary convictions for woman, mother of humanity. Together we have brought hope to a new dimension, the hope of a better tomorrow not only for women but for all humanity. The flame we have kindled will not be extinguished! At the same time, I express a thought to all those who have supported me in my journey, as well as to my predecessors, the names of African and international literature that inspired me and that, in one way or another, shaped my career as a writer.”
As a reminder, the Goncourt prize for high school students is awarded by a national jury representing 2,000 high school students who took part in one of the most productive literary prizes in France. An award organized by the Fédération Nationale d’Achat des Cartes (FNCA) and the Ministry of National Education, Youth and Sports.