Samar Yazbek Wins France’s ‘Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger’

Arabic Literature (in English)

Two books were awarded France’s Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger on Tuesday, November 29, one work of fiction and one nonfiction:

yazbekThe fiction prize went to Helen McDonald’s H is for Hawktranslated into French as M pour Mabel by Marie-Anne de Béru. The nonfiction prize went to Samar Yazbek’s Les portes du néant (Bawabat ard al-‘adam), which was translated into French by Rania Samara. The English version, The Crossing, was translated by Nashwa Gowanlock and Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp (2015).

Yazbek’s Les portes du néant also made this year’s Medicis Prize longlist.

Nouvel Observateur called the book “not only edifying, but also with an overwhelming humanity and intelligence.”

This year’s “Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger” jury was made up of André Bay, who founded the prize, andDaniel Arsand, Manuel Carcassonne, Gérard de Cortanze, Nathalie Crom, Catherine Enjolet, Anne Freyer, Christine Jordis, Jean-Claude Lebrun, Joelle Losfeld, Alexis Liebaert and Joël Schmidt. The prize has previously gone to writers…

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