UCLA Visiting Professor Wins Prestigious French Book Prize; Prix Renaudot Winners Become "Mega-Stars Overnight" in France
A French/Congolese writer who is teaching this year at UCLA has been selected for the French equivalent of the National Book Award.
Alain Mabanckou, who has been called "the most prolific contemporary writer in the French language," has been selected to receive the Renaudot Prize for his latest novel — "Mémoire de Porc-épic" (Memoirs of a Porcupine).
"Winning one of
these awards in
Congo-Brazzaville (formerly French Congo, now the Republic of the
"Mémoire de Porc-épic," which was released in September, is a contemporary fable based on an African belief that each human being has an animal alter ego.
winning the Renaudot, the author, who is virtually unknown in the
2006-07 academic year at UCLA, Mabanckou is teaching courses in French and
Francophone studies and comparative literature. Having been nominated last year
as well for the Prix Renaudot, Mabanckou
is such a celebrity in
The UCLA Department of French and Francophone Studies is known for its strength in literary studies relating to authors from or works about past or present French colonies.
"We emphasize the 'global' dimension of French studies and encourage our students to discover its long, rich, and varied heritage," Thomas said. "Alain Mabanckou's presence as both a scholar and a writer on campus provides UCLA undergraduate and graduate students with a unique opportunity to study African literature from one of his generation's most exciting practitioners."
In light of the announcement, the campus is planning a public reading by Mabanckou for next week. Details are pending.