Makenzy Orcel’s novel Une Somme Humaine is on the Premier Selection of Prix Goncourt 2022 announced today, September 6, 2022. Prix Goncourt is France’s most prestigious literary award.
The Prix Goncourt is given by the French Académie Goncourt to the author of “the best and most imaginative prose work of the year”. While it only has a token prize of around 10 Euros, it can increase the sales of a book by up to 200,000 to its winner. Leila Slimani won the prize in 2016, Mohamed Mbougar Sarr won it in 2021 and Djaïli Amadou Amal made the shortlist in 2020.
The Goncourt Academy, chaired by Didier Decoin, is made up of Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt, Pascal Bruckner, Paule Constant, Patrick Rambaud, Tahar Ben Jelloun, Camille Laurens, Françoise Chandernagor, Philippe Claudel and Pierre Assouline. They have today revealed the premier selection for the award with 15 works in the running including Une Somme Humaine by Haitian archaeologist, poet, and award-winning novelist Makenzy Orcel.
Port-au-Prince-born Makenzy Orcel is the author of Les Immortelles (2010), Les Latrines (2011), L’Ombre animale (2016) which received the Prix Louis Guilloux and the Prix Littérature-Monde in 2016, Maître-Minuit (2018), Une boîte de nuit à Calcutta (2019), L’Empereur (2019), and Une Somme Humaine (2022). He also has several collections of poetry.
The blurb for Une Somme humaine which is in the running for the award goes thus;
The voice of the heroine reaches us from beyond the grave. Both anonymous and embodied, it is the voice of one woman and of all women. She tells us in notebooks stolen from time and death about a stolen childhood, a torn adolescence, a shattered life and destiny.
Having grown up in a provincial village where gossip and gossip reign, neglected by her parents, especially by her mother who prefers the roses in her garden, she hardly finds any comfort from her grandmother anymore. magnetic. She escapes to Paris in hopes of leading a life free from the ghosts of the past. There she studied literature at the Sorbonne, found love with a man who had fled the war in Mali, experienced the world of work, before finally undergoing the test of abandonment and sinking into poverty. irreversible wandering.
By giving us the autobiography of a dead woman in dazzling language, Makenzy Orcel takes us, through this Human Summa, the second part of a trilogy initiated by L’Ombre animal, into the poetic belly of the world.
The next two selections for the Goncourt 2022 prize will take place on October 5 and 26 while the winner will be revealed on Thursday, November 3, 2022.