Osvalde Lewat’s Les Aquatiques was announced the winner of Prix Kourouma 2022 in Geneva, Switzerland on May 20, 2022.
Ahmadou Kourouma was a legendary Ivorian novelist of many titles including Les Soleils des indépendances (1968), Le diseur de verité (1972), and the most famous Allah n’est pas oblige (2000) which was translated to Allah Is Not Obliged. The last title won him awards like the Grand prix Jean-Giono. Prix Renaudot, and Prix Goncourt des Lycéens.
In 2003, the writer tragically passed away and the Salon du Livre Genève (Geneva Book) Fair set up a literary prize in his honour in the following year. Awarded each year, the Prix Ahmadou Kourouma rewards a French-speaking, African or African-born author from sub-Saharan Africa, for a fictional work – novel, story, or short story – including the spirit of independence, lucidity, and clairvoyance in the vein of the literary and humanist heritage bequeathed by the Ivorian novelist. It has been won by among others, Scholastique Mukasonga, Tierno Monénembo, Mutt-Lon, Mohamed Mbougar Sarr, Mbarek Ould Beyrouk, Max Lobe, Wilfried N’Sondé, David Diop, Hemley Boum, and Blaise Ndala.
The winner for 2022 was announced at a ceremony at the Salon du Livre Genève to be Les Aquatiques by Cameroonian writer and photographer Osvalde Lewat. Born in Gaoura in Cameroon, she began to share her creative universe through documentary films and photographs. Les Aquatiques is both the inner portrait of a woman who reveals herself to herself and a deep reflection on the games of power in contemporary African society. Initially, the plot cleverly mixes two quests (a funeral and a death). Osvalde Lewat slips into the skin of the wife of the prefect of the capital of an imaginary country, Zambuena. With Katmé, her heroine, she immerses herself in the small arrangements of an elite who thinks only of herself, and the unfailing friendship that binds her to a high school friend, Samy, an artist.
She receives CHF5,000 for winning the award.
It’s been a good year for the novelist who also won the first edition of the Pan-African Grand Prix for Literature, organized by the President of DR Congo, Félix Tshisekedi in January.