Djaïli Amadou Amal was announced as the Orange Book Award in Africa 2019 winner for her novel Munyal, Les Larmes De La Patience, at a ceremony in Yaoundé, Cameroon on May 22, 2019.
The Orange Book in Africa Award was launched in November 2018 to reward a fiction text written in French by an African writer from a publishing house based on the continent. The prize is organised by the African Cultural Agency alongside the Orange Foundation, the French Institute, UNESCO, OIF, AFD and DHL. Also involved are the Cameroonian Ministry of Arts and Culture.
The judges to oversee this new prize were Veronique Tadjo who would be chair alongside Valérie Marin La Meslée, Mohamed Mbougar Sarr, Wilfried N’Sondé, Michèle Rakotoson, Kouam Tawa, Elizabeth Tchoungui, and Fawzia Zouari. This team selected six finalists all of whom were invited to the Pavilion des Lettres d’Afrique at the Paris Book Fair 2019 as part of their reward.
The winner of the prize was unveiled at a ceremony attended by some of the most important people in Cameroon with the Head of State sending his personal representative Bidoung Mkpatt to represent him at the Hilton Hotel, Yaoundé.
The winner was announced as Cameroonian writer and feminist activist Djaïli Amadou Amal whose previous novels were Walaandé: L’art De Partager Un Mari and Mistiriijo Mangeuse d’ames. Jury President Véronique Tadjo hailed the winner and her novel as “a strong, sincere, rebellious voice, served by a language that carries its culture”.
Speaking on winning the award Amal said, (with a little help from Google Translate from this excellent story), “I accept this distinction with emotion. I am proud to be the first ever winner of this award, which rewards a Cameroonian woman. I am proud to wear the colours of my country.”
She goes home with the 10,000 Euro prize money and many other goodies including a campaign to promote her work.