Since 2004, Le Salon africain (part of the annual Geneva Book Fair) awards the Ahmadou Kourouma Prize to an ‘African oeuvre, essay or fiction that reflects the spirit of independence and creativity which is the heritage of [Ivorian novelist] Ahmadou Kourouma’. This year the Prize goes to Rwandan author Scholastique Mukasonga for her latest novel ‘Notre-Dame du Nil’. Of the past 8 winning books, not one is available in English:

2011 Photo de groupe au bord du fleuve (Emmanuel Dongala)
2010 Si la cour du mouton est sale, ce n’est pas au porc de le dire (Florent Couao-Zotti)
2009 Solo d’un revenant (Kossi Efoui)
2008 Le Bal des princes (Nimrod)
2007 Le paradis des chiots (Sami Tchak)
2006 Babyface (Koffi Kwahulé)
2005 Matins de couvre-feu (Tanella Boni)
2004 Survivantes, Rwanda 10 ans après (Esther Mujawayo & Souad Belhaddad)

In a recent profile of French-Congolese (RC) author Alain Mabanckou, the L.A. Times blames “the parochial tastes and pinched profit margins of the U.S. publishing industry [for] hav[ing] restricted Mabanckou’s visibility on U.S. bookshelves”. I can’t think of any other reason why these 9 Prize-winning works haven’t yet been translated. By not doing so, the Anglophone publishers are keeping their readers from accessing a Francophone world of imagination that spans more than a quarter of the African continent — not to mention the Francophone diaspora. Don’t tell me there’s no interest.

Further Reading

The culture wars are a distraction

When our political parties only have recourse to the realm of identity and culture, it is a smokescreen for their lack of political legitimacy and programmatic content. It is cynically unpolitical, and it’s all bullshit.