Maryse Condé on International Booker Prize 2023 Longlist

The International Booker Prize 2023 has announced its longlist. The Booker Prizes site writes that the longlist this year “features work from Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America, the oldest writer ever to be nominated, three writers who appear in English for the first time, and books translated from 11 languages.” The oldest writer ever to be longlisted for the prize (at 89) is Maryse Condé, with the nominated novel The Gospel According to the New World, translated by Richard Philcox.

Born in Guadeloupe in 1934 as the youngest of eight siblings, Maryse Condé is considered the Grande Dame of Caribbean literature.

Condé taught Francophone Literature at Columbia University in New York, where she lived for many years. She has also lived in various West African countries, most notably in Mali. Here, she gained inspiration for her worldwide bestseller Segu, for which she was awarded the African Literature Prize and several other respected French awards. [She was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 2015.]

Condé has been awarded the New Academy Prize in Literature as well as the Cino Del Duca World Award for her oeuvre. She also received the Grand Cross National Order of Merit from President Emmanuel Macron in 2020. Condé first conquered the hearts of many readers in English-language territories with her novels The Wondrous and Tragic Life of Ivan and Ivana and Waiting for the Waters to Rise, longlisted for the 2021 National Book Award for Translated Literature in the US.  

Maryse Condé’s novel The Gospel According to the New World was longlisted for the International Booker Prize 2023, announced on March 14, 2023.

Born: 11 February 1934

Background: Between 2005 – 2015, the Man Booker International Prize recognised one writer for their achievement in fiction. Worth £60,000, the prize was awarded every two years to a living author who had published fiction either originally in English or whose work is generally available in translation in the English language. The winner was chosen solely at the discretion of the judging panel and there were no submissions from publishers.

The Man Booker International Prize was different from the annual Man Booker Prize for Fiction in that it highlighted one writer’s overall contribution to fiction on the world stage. In focusing on overall literary excellence, the judges considered a writer’s body of work rather than a single novel.

Nominated Book: The Gospel According to the New World: A miracle baby is rumoured to be the child of God. Award-winning Caribbean author Maryse Condé follows his journey in search of his origins and mission.

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