Elnathan John was announced the Prix Les Afriques 2019 winner for Né un Mardi, the French translation of his novel Born On A Tuesday, on June 21, 2019.
Prix Les Afriques was created by the association La Cene Littéraire which was founded by Swiss lawyer Ngoãn Beti. It 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. Prix Les Afriques also aims at giving greater exposure to African authors and authors of African descent. It has been won previously by Kei Miller (2018), Abdelaziz Baraka Sakin (2017) and Hemley Boum (2016).
Selecting the winner of the prize this year were professor of literature, writer and jury president Ambroise Kom, writer Théo Ananissoh, writer & literature professor Boubacar Boris Diop, writer Koulsy Lamko, and medical doctor with a passion for the written word Hortense Sime. This team announced the longlist on April 2 before the five writer shortlist of Elnathan John, Jennifer Richard, Mbarek Ould Beyrouk, Charline Effah, and Abubakar Adam Ibrahim were unveiled.
The winner of the prize is Elnathan John’s Né un Mardi which is the French translation of his novel Born On A Tuesday. Jury President Kom said that it was “a powerful first novel, perfectly handled, that immerses us in contemporary Nigeria, paints a complex portrait of the West African giant in full mutation and in the grip of an unprecedented religious, social and economic crisis.”
Born on a Tuesday from the twice Caine Prize nominee is a stirring, starkly rendered first novel about a young boy struggling to find his place in a society that is fracturing along religious and political lines. Né un Mardi translated into French by Celine Schwaller was published by Anne-Marie Métailié in 2018.
Elnathan John will receive his award of a cash prize of €5,400, artwork worth €3000 and the purchase of 100 copies of the winning book at a ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland on June 29, 2019.