The winners of the Fetkann Literary Prize! Maryse Condé revealed

Fetkann price! of memory

Fatou Diome, Marianne facing counterfeiters, Can we become French?Albin Michel, 2022

Living in France since 1994, French since 2002, I have seen the evolution of political discourse which has continued to drift, until the current crystallization around identity. For the binational that I am, built by language and humanist values, sadness is going crescendo. Although aware of my powerlessness, I have the weakness of not being able to be indifferent to the voices that rise, advocating hatred. » Fatou Diome

In this personal and moving essay, Fatou Diome refers back to back the narrow identities and the victimized opportunists, who monopolize the political debate. She defends Marianne against forgers from both camps and draws an open, secular, lucid and generous France, one that makes her want to feel French and Senegalese.

The novelist Fatou Diome made a name for herself in 2003 with The Belly of the Atlantic, great success translated into twenty languages. More recently, she published a novel with Albin Michel, The Watchers of Sangomarand a collection of short stories, What to love to live. She is also the author of several essays including, in 2017, Marianne files a complaint!to which this text echoes.

Special Jury Mention

Francois-Xavier Guillerm, The yellow jacket, La i pann i sèkSame, 2022.

Sylvère is Guadeloupe by his father, but he lives since his 20 years in the country of his mother, the hexagonal France. Familiar with discrimination by virtue of his skin color, he got involved quite early on on the left of the political spectrum and observed with interest the persistence of an independence movement in the French West Indies. On the occasion of the death of his father, an independence activist who knew French jails, Sylvère returned to the country where his childhood friends, “nationalists 2.0”, entrusted him with the mission of going to Corsica to see how the Nation make up with the French State. After buying himself a superb yellow jacket to mark the end of his mourning, Sylvère gradually becomes aware of France’s vast embarrassment vis-à-vis its status as a postcolonial power when once again the West Indies are plagued by blockades, flames and the anger of its inhabitants.

François-Xavier Guillerm is a journalist. He worked for RFO, La Une Guadeloupe and has been France-Antilles’ permanent correspondent in Paris for many years. Author of two historical essays on Guadeloupe, (ln) Creole dependency in 2007, then The blood of niggers in 2015, he is also the author of a thriller Typo.

Fetkann price! of research

Collective, Haiti-France, Chains of Debt, The Mackau Report (1825)Editions Maisonneuve & La Rose / Hemispheres, 2021.

By an ordinance of King Charles X of April 17, 1825, France recognizes the independence of its colony of
Santo Domingo. This recognition is subject to the payment, by the Republic of Haiti, of a sum of 150 million gold francs intended to compensate the French colonists who have lost the properties which they held in the colony.

In July 1825, accompanied by a squadron, the Baron de Mackau was responsible for delivering this ordinance to the President of Haiti, Jean-Pierre Boyer. On his return from mission, he writes a report: it is this exceptional document,
largely unpublished, which is at the heart of the book. This publication sheds a light of primary importance on the “debt of independence” imposed on Haiti by the former metropolis. The chains that accompany it are approached here in a long-term perspective, thanks to a critical apparatus and to the articles signed by the four co-authors.

Marcel Dorigny, historian, honorary professor at the University of Paris 8, former director (2005 to 2013) of the journal Dix-Huitième Siècle, current member of the scientific committee of the Foundation for the Memory of Slavery, author of numerous works on the abolition of slavery and the origins of Haiti.

Gusti-Klara Gaillard teaches at the École Normale Supérieure and the State University of Haiti; historian and specialist in Franco-Haitian financial relations in the 19th century.

Jean-Marie Théodat, geographer (Institute of Geography, University of Paris 1), former teacher-researcher at the State University of Haiti, former rector of the University of Limonade. Jean-Claude Bruffaerts, specialist in financial matters and member of the Association Haïti Futur, organizer of the annual Haitian book fair in Paris.

Special Jury Mention

Fageol Pierre-Eric and Garan Frederic, Réunion – Madagascar: a connected history in the Indian Ocean (1880s – 1970s)), Editions PUI, 2021.

So close and so distant at the same time, Madagascar and Reunion maintain complex relations around a partly shared colonial destiny made up of dependencies and complementarities. This privileged relationship is explained by the links forged between the actors of the colonial system, notably the members of the learned societies of Réunion or the volunteers of the Réunion military battalions who participated in the conquest of the Big Island, according to the principle of “settler colony”.

This reciprocal influence also concerns population flows with the departure of people from Reunion who hoped to found a new life in Madagascar that is both novel and exo-territorial, but also the arrival in Reunion of Malagasy workers to respond the crying need for manpower. In the background, there is also colonial competition between the administrations and the elites of the two islands that the projects to establish a French eastern France highlight. The relationships that these two colonies have with the metropolis determine the framework of their interactions. Finally, the links are part of contexts that go beyond the local framework to open up to more global perspectives.

The positioning of the two islands during the two world conflicts thus questions colonial strategies that most often escape the will of the actors. This work partly incorporates research carried out within the framework of various editorial projects, the coherence of which now makes sense within this publication.

Pierre-Éric Fageol is an associate and lecturer in History at the University of La Réunion (ICARE-CRESOI). His research focuses on the identity positioning of Reunionese towards the national community in a colonial and postcolonial context. Part of his research is devoted to the history of education in the Indian Ocean, learned societies in a colonial situation and the participation of Reunionese in colonial military expeditions. He is also editor-in-chief of Outre-Mers. History review and publication director of the review Tsingy: Review of Human Sciences, South-West of the Indian Ocean.

Fréderic Garan is an associate professor and lecturer in History at the University of La Réunion (OIES). Associate researcher at CRHIA (Nantes) and TEMOS (UMR 9016 CNRS, South Brittany), he is also editor and founder of the journal Tsingy: Revue de Sciences Humaines, Sud-Ouest de l’Océan Indien. After a thesis devoted to photographs of missionaries in China, several works on veterans of the French army in Morocco, Senegal, Niger and Madagascar, his research is now centered on Madagascar, during the colonial period.

Fetkann price! of the youth

Cynthia Gocoul, I was sitting on a small benchNeg Mawon Editions, 2021.

Take your bench, sit down! I will tell you stories of when the devil was still a child. That’s what our storytellers told us. We ran without delay to enjoy this warm moment. In this collection of short stories you will find or discover this warmth that emanates from legends and from the West Indian daily life. You will find all this through the eyes of a child sitting on a bench like every Saturday afternoon after
the catechism…

Cynthia Gocoul is a young Guadeloupean artist, she combines drawing, sewing and writing to create an imaginary universe inspired by her childhood in the West Indies. Working in the field of early childhood for several years, she takes incredible pleasure in telling and immersing herself in imaginary stories.

Fetkann price! some poetry

Ben Ali Saindoune, Johanna, For you for meEditions Project’îles, 2021.

Johanna for you for me is an intimate story. It is above all the evocation of the beloved woman, gone too soon. She is both muse and lost shadow. It is this non-existent freedom around oneself, this beauty and sensuality tracked down in the darkness of the day. As a man, as a friend, as a lover, as a poet, Saindoune Ben Ali evokes childhood, love, loss, against the backdrop of the tragic history of a country on its knees.

Johanna Giant in fury Spared from anger Ruined is the spirit To write to you For all my caresses On clay skin Under the water of fertility Yes simple space The vague rust Or education of the master Infected and admitted Here beginning D where the fertile lights fall »

Saindoune Ben Ali is one of the major poets of the Comoros Archipelago. His father, learned in Arabic, introduced him to Sufism from an early age. He takes a liking to words and does not depart from them until his very noticed first collection. Wills of transhumance (Great Ocean, in 1996). Other collections follow, such as the very beautiful Talk wind my friends (The Harmattan, 2020). History, identity, the alienation of a people are the major subjects that run through the work of Saindoune Ben Ali. A professor at the University, he is best known for being this uncompromising poet, a fine observer of his fragmented country.

Find the list of French and Francophone literary prizes

Photo credits: Claude Truong-Ngoc (CC BY-SA 3.0.)

The winners of the Fetkann Literary Prize! Maryse Condé revealed