Rwandan-French writer Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse has won the Prix des 5 Continents 2020 for her novel, Tous les enfants dispersés (2019).

The Prix des 5 Continents is funded by L’Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie to celebrate the diversity of Francophone writers and the space that their work occupies in world literature. Winners receive a prize of 10,000 euros and promotional support of their work for one year.

African writers made up six of the ten 2020 finalists for the prize. Previous winners from the continent include Alain Mabanckou, Fawzia Zouari, and Yamen Manai.

This year’s winning novel, Tous les enfants dispersés (trans. “All the Scattered Children”), follows a Rwandan woman named Blanche who fled the genocide in 1994 to live in France. It explores themes of exile and transgenerational trauma as her biracial son, Stokely, wishes to meet his grandmother and learn more about their past in efforts to discover who he is.

Tous les enfants dispersés is Mairesse’s first novel. She has previously published poetry and two short story collections, Ejo (2015) and Lézardes (2019).

Congratulations to Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse!

Click below to watch her virtual acceptance of the Prix des 5 Continents 2020: