Senegalese author Mohamed Mbougar Sarr’s 2018 novel De purs hommes now has an English translation on the way titled Of Pure Men. The book is set to be published by Other Press.

Sarr is a prominent Senegalese writer with four novels and many awards to his name. His debut novel Terre ceinte (2015) received the Prix Ahmadou-Kourouma and the Grand prix du roman métis by the city of Saint-Denis de La Réunion, as well as the Prix du roman métis des lycéens. His second novel Silence du chœur (2017) received the Prix littérature monde as well as the Prix du roman métis des lecteurs of Saint-Denis de La Réunion in 2018. In 2021, he was awarded the Prix Goncourt for his fourth novel La plus secrète mémoire des hommes (The Most Secret Memory of Men).

His third novel is De purs hommes (2018) and it deals with prejudice and violence surrounding homosexuality in Senegal, where it is still illegal to be openly gay. The book starts with the image of a viral video in Senegal, where the corpse of a man is dug up by a crowd and dragged out of a cemetery. Upon watching the video, the young literature professor Ndéné Gueye finds himself disappointed with teaching and the moral hypocrisy of his society.

He becomes obsessed with the video and finding out more about the man and reasons why his body was exhumed. Gueye discovers that the man was a “Góor-Jigean” or “man-woman”, another word for a queer man. Gueye sets out to research the man’s past, and even goes to meet his mother. His activities raise suspicions and rumors arise, which affect his relationship with his friend and lover Rama.

Sarr’s novel has received praise from the Francophone literary community and it is exciting that an English translation is on the way. In an earlier review of the novel, Nigerian writer Ifeoma Chinwuba presciently remarks, “The English translation of this novel is yet to be. I predict that it will be a success because it is well crafted, though in this era of increased book-banning, it may meet with censorship.”

Congrats to Sarr! Stay tuned for more details.