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Senegalese praise Mouhamed Mbougar Sarr for Goncourt literary prize win

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BERTRAND GUAY/AFP or licensors


A new victory for Senegalese and African literature as writer Mouhamed Mbougar Sarr is named winner of The Goncourt 2021 prize.

The Goncourt, the most prestigious French literary prize, was awarded on Wednesday to Sarr, who at 31 years old becomes the first writer from sub-Saharan Africa to be honored by this prize.

Sarr received six votes from a jury of 10, for "The most secret memory of men" (published by Philippe Rey), a novel inspired by the cursed fate of the Malian writer Yambo Ouologuem.

His win has elicited proud reactions in Senegal.

"As Senegalese, we are happy and very moved that one of our compatriots has won the Goncourt Prize. After all, it is a source of motivation for other writers too. We can say, in a general way, that we are more than proud", says Mousatpha Sarr, a student of Modern literature in Dakar.

The distinction crowns a dazzling career for the Senegalese writer who launched in 2014 his first book - The Hold.

"I have just read the novel that has just been awarded and it is really extraordinary, this journey through Africa, Europe, the Americas because it is in Buenos Aires, especially this quest to pay tribute to Yambo Wologhem. So it is a beautiful revenge for Africa and especially a beautiful promotion for Senegalese literature, which, it should be noted, was in lethargy" Moussa Sagna research Professor at the Chiekh Anta Diop University Dakar.

"Mouhamed Mbougar Sarr, is the name on everyone's lips here in Senegal" reports our correspondent Wahany Sambo.

"The young Senegalese writer is the pride of an entire country, an entire continent after his coronation at the Prix Goncourt 2021. A pride all the more great because the 31-year-old author is the first from sub-Saharan Africa to have won this prestigious prize. A consecration that comes 100 years after that of Rene Maran, you know, the first black author to have won the Goncourt Prize." Sambo added.

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