Rwandan author's genocide novel wins France's Renaudot prize
A Rwandan author, whose family was massacred in 1994, has won France’s prestigious Renaudot prize, even though her book had not made the shortlist. Scholastique Mukasonga thought her informant was joking when told that her book Notre-Dame du Nil (Our Lady of the Nile) was the winner.
Voting went to 10 rounds with the jury of authors and critics unable to agree on a winner.
But then previous Renaudot-winner and Nobel laureate JMG Le Clézio reminded them of Mukasonga’s book, which had featured on the longlist in the spring but had dropped out of the running.
Mukasonga, who was in Caen on the Channel coast when the result was announced, was obliged to jump into a train and head for Paris to receive the prize.
Notre-Dame du Nil is set in a boarding school near the source of the Nile at the time that the Rwandan genocide erupted.
As Hutu sectarian thugs surround the school, the plot follows the friendships, enmities, persecutions and incitement to ethnic violence within its walls.
Scholastique Mukasonga’s life: