Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse

Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse was announced as the winner of the Prix des Cinq Continents de la Francophonie 2020 for her book Tous tes enfants dispersés on January 27, 2020.

Prix des Cinq Continents de la Francophonie (English: Five Continents Prize of the Francophonie) was established by the International Organization of the Francophonie in 2001. It is aimed at highlighting literary talents reflecting the expression of cultural and editorial diversity in the French language on five continents and to promote them on the international scene. Some previous winners have been Alain Mabanckou, Wilfried N’Sondé, Yamen Manaï, and Fawzia Zouari.

The international jury for the 2020 edition includes Lise Bissonnette (Canada-Québec), Ananda Devi (Maurice), Hubert Haddad (France-Tunisia), Monique Ilboudo (Burkina Faso), Venus Khoury-Ghata (Lebanon), Liliana Lazar (Romania), Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio (Maurice), Wilfried N’Sondé (Congo), René de Obaldia of the French Academy (Hong Kong), Lyonel Trouillot (Haiti), Abdourahman Waberi (Djibouti), Jun Xu (China), and Gilles Jobidon.

The finalists for the prize announced on October 5, 2020, had writers from eight countries represented. The winner is Tous tes enfants dispersés by Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse which was published by Autrement in 2019. The book blurb (translated from French by Google Translate) goes thus;

Can we repair the irreparable, bring together those whom history has scattered? Blanche, Rwandan, lives in Bordeaux after having fled the genocide of the Tutsi of 1994. She built her life in France, with her husband and her mixed-race child Stokely. But after years of exile, when Blanche visits her mother Immaculata, the painful memory resurfaces. Will the one who stayed and the one who left be able to talk to each other, forgive each other, love each other again? Stokely, caught between two countries, wants to understand where he comes from. Ode to persevering mothers, to transmission, to the life drive that drives each of us, “Tous tes enfants disperses” carries the voices of three generations trying to renew broken links and find their place in today’s world. hui. This first novel shows impressive sensitivity and marks the birth of an important voice.

“Ode to transmission, to the drive for life, this novel of great contained emotion carries the voices of three generations in the memory of the genocidal years in order to find a sense of life. It is about the bittersweet reunion between an old mother and her daughter who had been able to escape the genocide in Rwanda, an occasion for both a historical and intimate evocation of those nightmarish years which we will remember thanks to the testimonies of poets and of the just,” noted the International Jury, chaired by Paula Jacques.

Speaking on social media, Beata said, “To the jury so prestigious, my gratitude.”

The Prize will be awarded in Paris, France at the headquarters of the International Organization of La Francophonie, during the month of March, on the sidelines of the International Day of La Francophonie, on March 20, 2021.