blog | werkgroep caraïbische letteren

Meet Maryse Condé, Winner of New Academy Prize 2018

“After two years in Guinea I discovered this was a myth. There is no unity among people simply because their skin has the same colour.”

by Kirian Manral

Born at Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe, in 1937, Maryse spent most of her life in West Africa (Guinea, Ghana and Senegal), France and the US, where she taught at the University of California, Berkeley, UCLA and Columbia. She is now based in Paris. The publication of her bestselling third novel, Segu (1984), established her pre-eminent position among Caribbean writers. 

Her earlier awards included Le Grand Prix Littéraire de la Femme in 1986 as well as Le Prix de L’Académie Française in 1988 and she had been shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize in 2015. The New Academy Prize: Alternative Nobel Prize for Literature win announcement described her as a ‘grand storyteller who belongs to world literature’.

When the prize was announced, Condé  was quoted as saying, “We are such a small country, only mentioned when there are hurricanes or earthquakes and things like that. Now we are so happy to be recognised for something else.” SheThePeople.TV’s Ideas Editor Kiran Manral asked her about her writing, her influences and what this win has meant for her.

There were so many barriers that you broke with this prize, those of race, gender, language. How did the announcement that you won the Alternative Nobel affect you? 

I was very surprised for the reasons that you mentioned. I always believed that a black woman born on a small unimportant island had little chance of winning an international prize. Then I immediately felt proud. I had the feeling of overcoming a triple challenge: black, female and belonging to a small island in the Caribbean. But nevertheless I had always dreamed of becoming a famous writer, so the surprise was mixed with the feeling of triumph.

Continue reading on the She-the-People website, November 12, 2018.

on 07.12.2018 at 20:47

Your comment please...

  • RSS
  • Facebook
  • Twitter