Ayobami Adebayo’s Reste Avec Moi was awarded the Prix Les Afriques 2020 in a virtual ceremony on Saturday, December 12, 2020.
Prix Les Afriques is awarded annually to an African or writer of African descent who has written fiction highlighting a human, societal, ideological, political, cultural, economic, or historical issue related to Africa or its diaspora. The award, founded by literary advocacy organisation La Cene Littéraire in 2015, aims at giving greater exposure to African authors and authors of African descent. It has been won previously by Elnathan John (2019), Kei Miller (2018), Abdelaziz Baraka Sakin (2017), and (2016).
The 2020 edition had a longlist of 28 books and the shortlist had 5 books; Ayobami Adebayo’s Reste Avec Moi was announced the winner on November 27. The novel was first published in English under the title Stay with me before being translated into French by Josette Chicheportiche and published by Charleston Editions in 2019. The work plunges readers into the intimate universe of the two main characters, Akin and Yedidje. The story takes place in the eighties in Nigeria, a double political and social violence will put love in this relationship under severe test
The Lagos-based writer was feted at an award ceremony hosted on Zoom and streamed on YouTube this past Saturday. The evening anchored by James Murua (English) and Estelle Baroung Hughes (French) included speeches from the team at La Cene Littéraire led by their president and founder Flore Agnès Nda Zoa as well as Fatou Ndiaye, Christelle Ngoulou, and Djimeli Raoul.
The jury president Ambroise Kom explained the rationale behind them choosing the book, which included the fact that they were looking for the best book before them disregarding the original language it was written in or the location of the writer.
The winner of the award Ayobami Adebayo also gave some prepared remarks commenting on how excited that she was when she saw the first translation version and her delight at this first win in translation.
The evening ended with Senegalese painter Momar Seck whose art is one of the rewards for the winner speaking to his relationship with La Cene Littéraire.
You can watch the ceremony in full in the below video.