Guinee’s Tierno Monénembo is the recipient of the Grand Prix de la Francophonie 2017, the most prestigious award of the French Academy, for his body of work.
The Grand Prix de la Francophonie, awarded by the International Foundation, was set up by the Canadian Government in 1986 to recognise “the work of a French-speaking physical person who, in his country or internationally, has contributed eminently to the maintenance and illustration of the French language.” The award is supplemented by the French Government, the Principality of Monaco, the Kingdom of Morocco, and various private donations. Some of the previous winners of the award were people like singer Stromae, and Senegalese writer Aminata Sow Fall.
Tierno Monénembo, this year’s recipient, is a Francophone Guinean novelist and biochemist. Born in Guinea, he later lived in Senegal, Algeria, Morocco, and finally France since 1973. He has written eight books in all and was awarded the 2008 prix Renaudot for The King of Kahel (le Roi de Kahel). Some of these books include Les Crapauds-brousse ( 1979), Les Écailles du ciel (1986), Un rêve utile (1991), Un attiéké pour Elgass (1993), Pelourinho (1995), L’Aîné des orphelins (2000), Peuls (2004), La Tribu des gonzesses (2006), Le Roi de Kahel (2008), and Le Terroriste noir (2012).
Tierno Monénembo goes home with the high accolades as well as a healthy cash award of 30,000 Euros. Also getting awarded at the same time is Francois Boustani who gets the médaille de vermeil (silver medal).
This high literary distinction comes exactly one week after the release of Nos Patriotes, a film adaptation of his book Le Terroriste noir (The Black Terrorist). Indeed, this film-homage to Addi Bâ, a resistant Vosgian native of Guinea, was released to the public this year on June 14.