Youssouf Amine Elalamy’s novel C’est Beau, La Guerre the winner of the Orange Book Award in Africa 2020 was announced on June 4, 2020.
The Orange Book in Africa Award was launched in November 2018 to reward a fiction text written in French by an African writer from a publishing house based on the continent. The prize is organised by the African Cultural Agency alongside the Orange Foundation, the French Institute, UNESCO, OIF, AFD and DHL. Its first winner was Cameroonian writer and feminist activist Djaïli Amadou Amal.
The finalists for the 2020 edition of the prize were announced on March 5. The jury selecting the winner was chaired by Véronique Tadjo alongside Djaïli Amadou Amal (2019 winner, Cameroon), Yvan Amar (France), Kidi Bebey (France), Yahia Belaskri (Algeria), Eugène Ebodé (Cameroon ), Valérie Marin La Meslée (France), Nicolas Michel (France), Gabriel Mwènè Okoundji (Congo) and Mariama Ndoye (Senegal).
This jury announced the winner of the award as Youssouf Amine Elalamy, C’est Beau, La Guerre, Editions Le Fennec (Morocco). The novel is a story of an actor forced into exile after being driven out of his country, ravaged by a fratricidal war.
Véronique Tadjo and the members of the jury praised the literary and editorial quality of the novel. They said: “the narrator of the story takes us into the heart of a cruel war, where terror reigns and hope no longer exists. Whatever the name of the country invoked, it is easily recognized, because any conflict is embodied and generates death, terror and exile. But the author also describes the mode of resilience of the survivors. Thanks to his verb and his phrasing, he sticks to the very profession of his character – who is an actor. By his sense of observation and his thoroughness in detail, the author offers us striking paintings of beauty. The end of the novel, on which the jury discussed a lot, questions the place of art and creators in the face of the deepest dramas experienced, and provoked, by humanity. This book speaks to the heart and to reason. ”
Youssouf Amine Elalamy received the 10,000 euros cash prize and will also have a campaign to promote their work funded by the award.