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

Take it to the house

On this month’s AIAC Radio, Boima celebrates all things basketball, looking at its historical relationships with music and race, then focusing on Africa’s biggest names in the sport.

El maestro siempre

Maky Madiba Sylla is a militant filmmaker excavating iconic Africans whose legacies he believes need to be known widely—like the singer Laba Sosseh.

Madiba and Mali

There is a remarkable connection between Mali and South Africa, dating back to the liberation struggle, and actively encouraged by the author’s work.

A devil’s deal

Rwanda’s proposed refugee deal with Britain is another strike against President Paul Kagame’s claim that he is an authentic and fearless pan-Africanist who advocates for the less fortunate.

Red and Black

Yunxiang Gao’s new book takes a fresh look at connected lives of African American and Chinese leftist activists, artists and intellectuals after World War II.

The Dar es Salaam years

In the early 1970s, Walter Rodney, expelled from Jamaica, took a post in Tanzania. In Leo Zeilig’s new book, he captures those exciting, but also difficult years and how it formed Rodney.

Rushing to boycott

The cultural boycott of Russia turns to the flawed precedent of apartheid South Africa for inspiration, while ignoring the much more carefully considered boycott of official Israeli culture by the BDS Movement.