Imbolo Mbue’s Puissions-nous vivre longtemps was declared the winner of Prix Littéraire Les Afriques 2022 on December 21, 2022.
Prix Littéraire Les Afriques 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, created by the Swiss lawyer Ngoãn Beti founded Association La Cene Littéraire in 2015, gives exposure to African authors and authors of African descent. It has been won previously by Fiston Mwanza Mujila (2021), Ayobami Adebayo (2020), Elnathan John (2019), Kei Miller (2018), Abdelaziz Baraka Sakin (2017), and Hemley Boum (2016).
The jury this year featured Ambroise Kom (Chairman), Hortense Sime, Alphonsine Bouya, M. Boubacar Boris Diop, M. Sada Kane, M. Koulsy Lamko. They are joined by novelist, poet and international civil servant (Benin) Adelaide Fassinou, poet and novelist (Haiti) Kettly Mars, and University of Montreal Associate Professor M. Josias Semujanga from Canada (Rwanda). They announced the finalists for the prize on September 19 before announcing the winner.
The winner for 2022 is Puissions-nous vivre longtemps, written in English by Imbolo Mbue and translated by Catherine Gibert. The jury hailed a very good narrative, focusing on two main themes: the deconstruction of a village through oil pollution by an American company, and the struggle of its inhabitants.” If the plot takes place in an imaginary town in West Africa, the reader could as well place it in the DRC in the heart of the Congo Basin, in northwestern Nigeria, and in the entire Gulf of Guinea, that is, wherever the economic interests of multinationals matter more than human beings.”
Mbue gets a cash prize of 6,000 Swiss Francs, a work of art worth 3,500 Swiss Francs, and 10,000 books bought from the publisher for distribution across the continent. There will be a presentation of the award on June 23, 2023, in Geneva, Switzerland.