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Léonora Miano: the Cameroonian won the Fémina Prize!

leonoraHer dream became reality! Léonora Miano, a Cameroonian writer won the Fémina Prize on Wednesday, November 6th, 2013. A very nice consecration!

This prize was awarded to her for her book “La Saison de l’ombre” (Grasset). The selection also included “Au revoir là-haut” of Pierre Lemaitre (Albin Michel), distinguished on Monday November, 4th by Goncourt prize, “Le Dernier seigneur de Marsad” of Charif Majdalani (Seuil), “Faillir être flingué” of Céline Minard (Rivages) and “Le cas Eduard Einstein” of Laurent Seksik (Flammarion).

“It is a great novel with a captivating romantic breath. It is a work of a great writer. She has a promissing future”, declared Diane de Margerie, forewoman of the jury.

Léonora Miano who was born in Douala in 1973, has been living in France since 1981, time when she went to settle there in order to follow her higher education in a faculty of literature at Valenciennes.

Léonora has been writing since the age of 8 years. In 2005, came out her first novel at Plon: “L’Intérieur de la nuit qui se passe à Mboasu”. The “Lire” magazine classified it among the 5 best books of the year. In 2006, she won the Goncourt prize for High school students for “Contours du Jour qui vient“.

Her whole literary work is connected wirh Africa. She sometimes has a look at the continent without kindness: “There are Africans who sold fellow Africans to become rich. In Africa, we would like only the West to be guilty because we do not stand for the fact that our ancestors were able to do similar things, but they too had slaves, war captives whom they sold. It is important to recognize it because there are in Africa tribal hostilities due to the fact that some people remember having been sold by others (…). Greed exists in every human being, it is necessary to admit it.”

“Today in Africa, human traffic – not because of wars only – persists. There are still places where we consider that we can sell people, because formerly it was so. If we consider Niger: slavery became illegal there only in 2004. As for Benin and for Nigeria, they are suppliers of women for prostitution. Human beings’ traffic is still enough recurring in our lands. It is necessary to try to know from where it comes in order to eradicate it.”

Léonora Milano has just published her new book, La Saison de l’ombre” (editions Grasset). A work dedicated to Africans who were not deported during the slave trade. But who were all the same victims.

In 2008, she has acquired French nationality. “People sometimes ask me if Leonora is my real name and why not Fatou. They think it might not be true. I answer that my parents are called Jacques and Chantal and that we should not forget that we were colonized all the same …”

This is what guided her writing: “We are interested in the evil the West did to Africa, but on my side, I try to update the evil Africans have been doing to themselves. I know that some are going to criticize me, but at the same time they cannot tell me that I lied”.

She dreams of winning the Fémina Prize for her last book, “La saison de l’Ombre”.

Her books:
L’Intérieur de la nuit, Plon, 2005 ; Pocket, 2006
Contours du jour qui vient, Plon, 2006

Afropean Soul, Flammarion 
Tels des astres éteints, Plon, 2008 
Soulfood équatoriale , Robert Laffont, 2009 
Les Aubes écarlates, Plon, 2009 
Blues pour Elise, Plon, 2010 
Ces âmes chagrines, Plon, 2011
Écrits pour la parole, L’Arche éditeur, 2012 
Habiter la frontière, L’Arche éditeur, 2012 
La Saison de l’ombre, Grasset, 2013 

Prizes:
Prize Louis-Guilloux 2006
Prize du Premier Roman de Femme 2006 pour L’Intérieur de la nuit1
Prize René-Fallet 2006
Prize Bernard-Palissy 2006
Literary Grand Prix of Black Africa 2011 for “Blues pour l’Afrique et Ces âmes chagrines”. 

Prize Seligmann in 2012 against racism for “Écrits pour la parole” (L’Arche éditeur).

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