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Moroccan writer Leila Slimani awarded France’s top literary prize, the Prix Goncourt

Moroccan writer Leila Slimani has won France’s top literary prize, the Prix Goncourt, for her novel “Chanson douce” (loosely translated “Sweet Song”). Slimani is only the second African woman to win the prestigious award after French-Senegalese author Marie NDiaye won the award in 2009 for her novel Trois femmes puissantes (Three Powerful Women).

Moroccan  writer Leila Slimani (35) has won France’s top literary prize, the Prix Goncourt, for her bestseller novel “Chanson douce” (loosely translated as “Sweet Song”).

The novel is based on sensational true life events of a nanny (called Louise in the novel) who murders the two children in her care.

Slimani is only the seventh woman to have won the Goncourt in its 112-year history and she is the second African woman to win the prestigious award after French-Senegalese author Marie NDiaye won the award in 2009 for her novel Trois femmes puissantes (Three Powerful Women). NDiaye is the first black woman to win France’s most prestigious literary award.

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The Goncourt Prize, a French literature award, is presented by the Goncourt Academy (académie Goncourt) to the author of “the best and most imaginative prose work of the year”.

Leila Slimani (R), flanked by president of the jury Bernard Pivot (L) and writer Tahar Ben Jelloun (C), poses with her book at the Drouant restaurant after winning the Goncourt Literary Prize 2016 for her book 'Chanson douce', at the Drouant restaurant, in Paris, France, 03 November 2016. The Prix Goncourt is given annually to an author by the French literary organization 'Societe litteraire des Goncourt'. Photo: ANP/EPA Christophe Petit Tesson
Leila Slimani (R), flanked by president of the jury Bernard Pivot (L) and writer Tahar Ben Jelloun (C), poses with her book at the Drouant restaurant after winning the Goncourt Literary Prize 2016 for her book ‘Chanson douce’, at the Drouant restaurant, in Paris, France, 03 November 2016. The Prix Goncourt is given annually to an author by the French literary organization ‘Societe litteraire des Goncourt’. Photo: ANP/EPA Christophe Petit Tesson

The academy was founded by the French writer and publisher Edmond de Goncourt (1822–1896).

The Prix Goncourt comes with a symbolic award of 10 euros, but far more significant that the monetary token is its value based on the book sales.

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