Cameroonian writer and feminist activist, Djaïli Amadou Amal, has won the Prix Goncourt des Lycéens for her novel, Les impatientes.
The Prix Goncourt des Lycéens is organized by the French Ministry of National Education which selects 2,000 high school students to discuss, debate, and vote on an outstanding work of literature each year. It is the sibling prize of the Prix Goncourt for which Amal’s novel was also a finalist.
Les impatientes follows the lives of three women, Ramla, Hindour, and Safira, as they contend with the injustices of early marriage and gender violence in polygamous households. The story is inspired by Amal’s own experience forced into a polygamous marriage at the age of 17 and her observations of women around her.
Clémence Nominé, the president of the high school jury, reflects on the selection of Les impatientes for the Prix Goncourt des Lycéens:
The writing is simple and touching and sounds right, without superfluous lyricism. It is a subtle book that allows us to observe the issue of forced marriage through the prism of this moving testimony.
Djaïli Amadou Amal’s writing seems to strike a chord for young women in particular, including her own daughter, Naima, who posted this video on Twitter expressing pride and gratitude for the work that her mother does to empower women.
— Djaïli Amadou Amal (@DjailiAmal) November 17, 2020
Congratulations to Djaïli Amadou Amal!