Comme une reine by Ernis (Lontsi Clémence) was declared the winner of Prix Voix d’Afriques 2022 on Wednesday, September 21, 2022.
Prix Voix d’Afriques is a literary award aimed at bringing young French-language authors and authors from the African continent first hosted in 2020. It is aimed at highlighting new African literary voices, novels reflecting the situation of a country, political, economic, or social news, or more intimate texts. It is an initiative of publisher Editions JC Lattès and RFI, in partnership with the Cité Internationale des arts de Paris. Previous winners have been Yaya Diomandé (2020) and Fann Attiki (2021).
The 2022 edition just like in the past year is chaired by author Abdourahman Waberi alongside Catherine Fruchon-Toussaint, journaliste RFI; Bénédicte Alliot, directrice de la Cité Internationale des arts; Véronique Cardi, présidente des éditions JC Lattès; Anne-Sophie Stefanini, directrice littéraire des éditions JC Lattès; Josué Guébo, poète et professeur à l’université en Côte d’Ivoire; Grégoire Leménager, directeur adjoint de la rédaction de L’Obs; Béata Umubyeyi Mairesse, poète, nouvelliste, romancière, auteure de Tous tes enfants dispersés (Prix des cinq continents de la Francophonie, 2020); Stéphanie Hanet, de la Librairie Coiffard à Nantes; and Bios Diallo, écrivain, journaliste et directeur d’un festival en Mauritanie.
French-speaking Africa answered the call for entries for anyone under the age of 30 to submit with 146 sending in their texts and the finalists were made public on April 15. The winner of the award was revealed to be Ernis for her book Comme une reine. Ernis, whose real name is Lontsi Clémence, is a Cameroonian author and slammer born in the city of Bafoussam.
In Comme une reine (English: Like A Queen) a young Cameroonian returns to her native village from Douala; a return to the sources is accompanied by a rediscovery of ancestral customs and a love affair with the king of the territory. The novel is stretched between modernity and tradition, with the freedom of women at its heart. It raises the questions of polygamy, abortion, witchcraft, motherhood, and AIDS.
Commenting on her win Ernis tweeted, “Happy to announce that I am the winner of the Prix Voix d’Afriques 2022 with my first novel COMME UNE QUEEN. I would like to thank Éditions JC Lattès, the Cité internationale des arts in Paris, and the RFI. Endless thanks to those who support me every day.”