Blaise Ndala was revealed to be the winner of Prix Kourouma 2021 in Geneva, Switzerland on October 22, 2021.
When legendary Ivorian author Ahmadou Kourouma passed away in 2003, the African salon at the Geneva Book Fair decided to pay tribute to him by creating a literary prize that bears his name in the following year. Awarded each year as part of the Geneva Book Fair, the Prix Ahmadou Kourouma rewards a French-speaking, African or African-born author from sub-Saharan Africa, for a fictional work – novel, story or short story – including the spirit of independence, lucidity and clairvoyance in the vein of the literary and humanist heritage bequeathed by the Ivorian novelist.
The jury for this year’s award with Jacques Chevrier as Président included Christine Le Quellec Cottier, Isabelle Rüf, Isabelle Chariatte, Romuald Fonkoua, Boniface Mongo Mboussa, and Nétonon Noël Ndjékéry. This team announced the longlist in April 28 before unveiling the shortlist on Monday, May 31. The winner of the prize announced in Geneva is Dans le ventre du Congo by Blaise Ndala (Seuil).
Responding to the win on social media afterwards Ndala said (translated from French by Google);
“A very emotional week ends with this prize awarded to Dans le belly du Congo by the jury of the Geneva Book Fair. Moment of gratitude to all those who made possible the gradual appearance in my sky of so many stars, each more beautiful than the next: Prix Ivoire on Tuesday, the selection for the Prix des Cinq continents de la Francophonie on Thursday, the Kourouma Prize yesterday. My thoughts go out to my agents Pierre and Laure Astier, Raphaël Thierry, as well as to their collaborators; to my editors in Montreal Rodney St-Eloi (the ink brother of all fights), in Abidjan Serge Grah (and his passionate team), in Paris where it all started with Frédéric Mora, Sophie Choisnel, Géraldine Ghislain, Elodie Brusseaud, Juliette Plé (and all the other heroes and heroines in the shadows). And there are all of you, from Kinshasa to Ottawa via Brussels, who nourish book after book my reason for writing. Huge thank you.”
He gets the CHF5,000 cash prize, literary recognition and media coverage that accompanies the award.
Dans le belly du Congo is Blaise Ndala’s third novel after prix du livre d’Ottawa wining debut J’irai danser sur la tombe de Senghor (L’Interligne, 2014) and Sans capote ni kalachnikov (Mémoire d’encrier, 2017).