Khalil Diallo

Khalil Diallo’s L’Odyssée des Oubliés is on the shortlist for the Prix Littéraire Jesus Paradis 2022 announced on January 11, 2022.

Prix Littéraire Jesus Paradis, named after the restaurateur Jesus Borges and the bar he runs in the tenth arrondissement of Paris, was launched in 2019. Handed out for a sophomore novel, it is organized in partnership with the La Plume Vagabonde Bookstore and the Michèle Ignazi bookstore.

The jury for the 2022 edition of the prize features the talents of Anna Dubosc, Nadine Lamari, Charlotte Bayart, Julien Theves, Jacques Braunstein, Vincent Dieutre, Christophe Pellet, Ismail Jude, David Cazals. They had a jury meeting on January 10, chaired by Jesus Borges, and came up with the pre-selection of ten books still being considered for the award. Making the shortlist was Khalil Diallo’s L’Odyssée des Oubliés.

Diallo responded with the statement on Facebook, “L’Odyssée des oubliés on the shortlist for Prix Littéraire Jesus Paradis… The ongoing adventure continues. Thanks to all especially my agents.”

Diallo’s L’Odyssée des Oubliés (The Odyssey of the Forgotten), which was published in August last year, comes with the following blurb;

How Sembouyané and his childhood friend Idy, both from a small village in West Africa, a world-famous writer and a young orphan find themselves without identity on the routes of migration and underground?

Over the course of a terrible and intense odyssey between the western coast of Africa and the Mediterranean, Khalil Diallo tells us the story of Sembouyane and his companions in misfortune and embarks us in the flow of these thousands of migrants ready to cross the desert and the sea in the hope of a better future. They will not be spared nothing but, despite the disillusionment and suffering, it is still possible to dream, to make a decision and to fight for their inalienable and universal right to dignity.

In a lyrical and poetic language, where magical realism is never far away, The Odyssey of the Forgotten paints an uncompromising picture of Africa today and nevertheless delivers us a novel of exile and hope.

The winner will be revealed at an award ceremony at the end of March 2022.