Initiated by the Congolese presidency of the African Union (AU) in 2021, the first edition of this prize rewards the French-Cameroonian writer Osvalde Lewat, for her first novel “Les aquatiques”.
The Pan-African Grand Prize for Literature is one of the flagship projects of the African Union Presidency. For its very first edition, it is the Franco-Cameroonian Osvalde Lewat who wins the honors thanks to her work “Les aquatiques”, a superb novel published last August 19, by Les Escales. The ceremony was held this Monday, January 24 during the day of African and Afro-descendant culture, at the National Museum of the DRC in the presence of Felix Tshisekedi, current chairman of the African Union. The award, which comes with 30,000 dollars, will be presented to him in February in Addis Ababa, during the next summit of AU heads of state.
Director, photographer and writer, Osvalde Lewat, 45, through The Aquatics, takes us behind the scenes of a contemporary sub-Saharan Africa where corruption gnaws, patriarchal politics and unscrupulous men are in power. It is also a work that zooms in on the issue of homosexuality in Africa.
Promote African literature
Promoting and rewarding the work of African writers at the continental level is the objective of the creation of this prize. Indeed, this prize comes, according to its initiators, to correct the error of seeing African authors awarded elsewhere and according to foreign criteria. A promotion of authentic literary work, specific to the continent is thus put forward. Thus, the annual theme chosen by the African Union in 2021 was “Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want“. Felix Tshisekedi, the Congolese president and current chairman of the African Union, wanted to use this initiative to mark the year 2021 and his term, which is coming to an end.
According to the website dedicated to the prize, each year it will be awarded to a work of fiction (novel, poetry, drama, short story, etc.) in French or English, or in one of the two working languages of the African Union.
For the first edition, no theme is imposed to the participants. However, the works must reflect the great values enshrined in the African Union charter, such as solidarity, pan-Africanism, and the peaceful cohabitation of peoples.