David Diop‘s “At Night All Blood is Black”, a novel inspired by his Senegalese great-grandfather’s silence about his experiences during the First World War wins the International Booker Prize for the year.
The fiction was announced virtually as the winner by the chair of the judges Lucy Hughes-Hallett on Wednesday.
“This story of warfare and love and madness has a terrifying power. The protagonist is accused of sorcery, and there is something uncanny about the way the narrative works on the reader. We judges agreed that its incantatory prose and dark, brilliant vision had jangled our emotions and blown our minds. That it had cast a spell on us,” Hughes-Hallet said.
This happens to be the second novel the French-Senegalese author and a professor in literature has written. It was translated to enter the prize by Anna Moschovakis, US author and poet.
The fiction revolves around a young man’s descent into madness taking its readers through the story of the Senegalese who fought for France during the conflict.
Speaking of his great-grandfather, Diop said:
“He never said anything to his wife, or to my mother, about his experience. That is why I was always very interested by all the tales and accounts which gave one access to a form of intimacy with that particular war.”
Prior to the win, “At Night All Blood is Black” has been raking awards including
Swiss Prix Ahmadou Korouma, Strega European Prize in Italy, and France’s Prix Goncourt des Lycéensm.
The International Booker Prize is awarded each year to the best book translated into English and published in Britain or Ireland.
It is different from Booker Prize formerly known as Booker Prize for Fiction/Man Booker Prize.
However, both prizes are awarded by the Booker Prize Foundation with the same prize money.
By Elijah Christopher
Elijah Christopher is a journalist at A New Touch Of Africa, is also a creative writer, a poet, and an IT enthusiast. He contributed to the collaborative poem written in celebration of Edwin Morgan Centenary, the first Glasgow poet laureate and Scottish national poet from the University of Glasgow. He loves meeting people and learning about new places, cultures, events, and lifestyles.