Algerian writer Kamel Daoud, against whom a fatwa has been issued in his country, has won the First Novel Goncourt prize for “Meursault, contre enquête” (Actes Sud), announced the literary jury on Tuesday. They also awarded the Short Story prize to Frenchman Patrice Franceschi, and the Poetry prize to Belgian William Cliff.
Kamel Daoud’s book is a meditation on the identity of contemporary Algeria, and mirrors the famous Albert Camus novel “The Stranger” (1942). It reached the finals of the Goncourt last autumn. It was also awarded the 5 Francophone Continents Prize and the Francois Mauriac Prize.
“Contrary to what many people think, I have more than one book in me, as I think this would lead to 2 plagues, either vanity or war of religion,” said Kamel Daoud in Paris when receiving his prize on Tuesday. The 44-year-old novelist, against whom an Islamist fatwa has been issued in Algeria, was publically disappointed last autumn not to be awarded the Goncourt.
The jury of the literary prize awarded 2 other prizes on the same day, one for a short story to 60-year-old Patrice Franceschi for “Première personne du singulier”, and one for poetry to 70-year-old William Cliff from Gembloux.