Nedjma Kacimi’s debut novel Sensible was declared the winner of Prix de la Porte Dorée 2022 on May 21, 2022.
Prix de la Porte Dorée (English: Porte Dorée Literary Prize) rewards a novel or a story written in French dealing with the theme of exile. The prize is endowed with 4,000 euros. The jury selects the winner from among ten titles from the current editorial year, selected by the Palais’ reading committee. Founded in 2010, some of the previous winners have been Mohamed Mbougar Sarr, Henri Lopes, and Mehdi Charef.
The jury for this year had Marie Ndiaye, winner of the Prix Femina, and the Prix Goncourt, as president. She was joined by Véronique Chatenay-Dolto the General Administrator of the Ministry of Culture, former DRAC of Île-de-France; Blandine Fauré Literary programmer and coordinator of the Effractions-BPI festival; Cloé Korman Author; Gladys Marivat Literary critic; Alexis Nouss Professor of general and comparative literature at the University of Aix-Marseille, holder of the Exile and Migration Chair at the FMSH / College of World Studies; Sébastien Zaegler General Delegate of the Libraries in Seine-Saint-Denis association and of the Hors-Limites festival; and a high school girl.
The shortlist for the award was announced on April 9 before the winner of the award was made public. The winner this year is Sensible written by Nedjma Kacimi and published by Cambourakis.
Jury president Marie NDiaye said, “There is something implacable in Nedjma Kacimi’s argument, in her desire to “put everything flat” and put an end to good manners, the wounded politeness of that which is always referred to commonplaces of her so-called origins. She’s tired of kindly answering dumb and humiliating questions, tired of justifying herself, tired of trying to fit the expected images of her as a ‘ woman with an immigrant background.'”
Nedjma Kacimi said of the win, “I wholeheartedly thank the jury for the Prix de la Porte Dorée, which I hasten to dedicate to young people, young people who are sensitive and weakened by bad winds. This week again, three young men were brutalized. Sensible is a consolation written for youth. May she draw from it the patience and the courage to endure the difficulties. Sensitive, it’s a love letter. It seems cutesy said like that, except to remember that from sensitive to splendid, there is only one step. Thank you very much for having grasped the urgency of it.”
Nedjma Kacimi was born in Algeria in 1969 to a French mother and an Algerian father. After a childhood spent in Ain, she studied philosophy in Paris. Holder of a double master’s degree in French literature and philosophy, she lived and worked in India, Mozambique, and Mali before settling in Zurich, Switzerland, where she still lives today with her husband and their four children. Sensible is her debut novel.