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Haiti - Literature : «Les Villages de Dieu» by Emmelie Prophète, Prize Fetkann / Maryse Condé 2021
This is the second time in history that a Haitian author has been honored with this Prize after novelist Gary Victor who received it in 2017 for his book "Les temps de la cruauté".
"Les Villages de Dieu" summary :
"Entrenched in cities which take their name from the biblical legend, "Divine Power", "Bethlehem", gangs loot, rape and murder, with complete impunity. Celia, a teenager, seeks to survive, sometimes by prostituting herself, sometimes by chronicling the women of the city on social networks, where she becomes an influencer. "Les Villages de Dieu" tells the story of the collapse and banality of evil in this city of Port-au-Prince left to its demons. "
"[…] I was not afraid. I was used to the sound of guns. I grew up in this city where there had never been any truces, where death circulated at noon as at midnight. Grand Ma had died nine months ago from fear. It was a particularly difficult evening of a Sunday that had calmly started, until the rumor circulated that guys from Makenson's gang had whistled over the passage of the girlfriend of one of the influential members of Freddy's while she was coming back from church. The two gangs that ruled the City were never short of mutual provocations, but there had never been, until this Sunday evening, a direct confrontation. I will always remember my grandmother's bulging eyes, her hands gripping my wrist tightly, and me shouting, 'Grand Ma, you're hurting me!' She had said in a groan:« Cécé, Célia, my child, pitit mwen, Cécé, I feel that my heart is going to explode, I am going to die. [...]"
For the writer Dany Laferrière, winner of the Medici Prize and member of the French Academy of Language, Prophète's novel is "exceptional, the best book on Haiti, the fairest and the strongest".
Jean Emmanuel Jacquet, the Minister of Culture (before his dismissal https://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-35323-haiti-flash-ministerial-reshuffle-8-new-ministers.html) wrote "Congratulations to the writer Emmelie Prophète who has just won the Fetkann / Maryse Condé Prize in the Memory category for her book 'Les Villages de Dieu'. A novel of great beauty! And this is not his last Prize. Have a good fight !"