bernard-dadiecc81-lettres-africainesBernard Dadié is 100!

His birthday was on January 10, but last week the literary legend had the chance to celebrate the huge milestone in the best way possible. He joined friends and family in Abidjan were he was honored as the winner of the UNESCO sponsored Jamie Torres Bodet award.

Winning the award comes with a 50, 000 dollar cash prize and recognition for the work he as done promoting literature and culture.

Sometimes referred to as the Achebe of Ivorian literature, Dadié is known for his stellar career as a poet. We have people like Dadié to thank for the existence of an African literary culture and institution. Born in 1916, he was there when it all began. His poems and novels were inspiration for the black nationalist movement called negritude. The poem “Je Vous Remercie Mon Dieu” is considered one of the greatest negritude anthems of all time. Dadié’s life’s work of about 20 books cuts across multiple genres.

It comes as no surprise that Dadié wins this award given in recognition for contributions made “to the development of knowledge and society through art, teaching and research in social sciences and humanities.”

The initial list of candidates were drawn from 20 countries. UNESCO reports that Dadié was unanimously voted as the winner of the prize in acknowledgement of his status as a “pioneer and giant of African literature.” The Jamie Torres Bodet award is in its first year and is set up to run every two years.

Jeune Afrique reports that Dadié received the award himself, in spite of his age. Even though his son went on to give his acceptance speech, Dadié was able to put in a few remarks in which he said, with his voice trembling, that his writing has always been about shining the light of knowledge.

Congrats to Dadié! We feel truly blest to celebrate with a true veteran of African literature.


Post image by AFP / Sia Kambou Shooting Thankar Chanda Article from RFI via On n’est ps de moutons

Tags: , , ,

I'm finishing up a phd at Duke University where I study African novels, which I believe are some of the loveliest things ever written. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

2 Responses to “Bernard Dadié The Achebe of Ivory Coast Wins Literary Prize at 100” Subscribe

  1. henry 2016/03/01 at 9:23 am #

    Great father of the pen.

  2. Henry Lynn Herbst 2016/03/13 at 10:30 pm #

    Je felicite M. Bernard Dadie a l’epoque decernement du prix prestigieux de l’ONU. Je me rappelle de mon sejour a Abidjan en 1988 quand j’ai eu l’honneur de faire la connaissance de M. Dadie et d’entre invite chez lui et a passé une soirée avec lui, sa famille et Mme. Nicole Vicellioni. Je n’oublierai jamais sa gentilesse. C’etait a l’epoque ou j’ai establi une echange d’eleves entre Phillips Academy dans le Massachusetts et le College Jean Mermoz avec l’aide de M. Dadie. Je voudrais aussi feliciter M. Dadie au moment de son centenaire.
    Avec toutes mes felicitations.
    Henry Lynn Herbst

Leave a Reply

I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


A Book About Soups, Sex and Nigerian Taste Buds


Congrats to Yemisi Aribisala! Her essay collection on Nigerian food and culinary culture is set for an October 31 release. […]

Chimamanda Adichie Had a Christian Dior Moment


Head of Dior Maria Grazia Chiuri made a bold statement at her catwalk show in the beautiful gardens of the […]

Opportunity for African Writers | Enter to Win the 2017 Commonwealth Short Story Prize


The 2017 Commonwealth Short Story Prize is now open for entries! If you are a member of any of the […]

Nnedi Okorafor’s Chicken in the Kitchen Wins Children’s Africana Book Award


On October 8th, Nnedi Okorafor attended a ceremony at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC  where […]

Adichie Has Some Thoughts About Michelle Obama as a Figure of Black Femininity


As Michelle Obama concludes her 8-year run as first lady, The New York Times Style Magazine assembles a group of […]

Welcome to London | by Lucky Edobor | An African Story


05:40 am. The immigration man’s backside is too flat, even for a skinny white man. It is hard to not […]