Franco-Senegalese writer Fatou Diome was elected to Belgium’s Royal Academy of French Language and Literature on 14 January, the institution announced on Tuesday.
Diome, who was elected with a large majority of votes, takes over the chair of Quebec writer Marie-Claire Blais, who died on 30 November 2021.
She joins French writers Philippe Claudel, Sylvie Germain, Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt and Gérard de Cortanze, and Spain's Michel del Castillo in the Academy, in addition to its Belgian members.
In the past, the Belgian Academy had already elected foreign writers to its literary section, including France’s Anna de Noailles, Colette and Edmée de La Rochefoucauld, as well as Franco-American writer Marguerite Yourcenar and Franco-Algerian writer Assia Djebar.
Born in Senegal in 1968, Fatou Diome has written some fifteen novels, short stories and essays since 2001. Her works include “Le Ventre de l’Atlantique” (‘The Belly of the Atlantic’), published in 2003, Kétala (2006) and Marianne face aux faussaires (2022).
Many of her novels contain autobiographical elements.
Fatou Diome will be officially received later this year at the Palais des Académies by Perpetual Secretary Yves Namur.