Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s book Dear Ijeawele was announced as the winner of the Le Grand Prix de l’héroïne Madame Figaro.
The prize was established in 2006 by the French magazine Madame Figaro to celebrate heroines of French and foreign literature. Each year the shortlisted works are selected by the magazine’s editor.
Influential journalist Patrick Poivre d’Arvor who was the chair of judges, selected one French novel, one foreign novel in translation, and one nonfiction work. “Chère Ijeawele, ou un manifeste pour une éducation féministe,” the French translation of ‘Dear Ijeawele,’ was selected as the winner in the latter category.
Other prize winners were Alex Stresi, who was awarded the prize in the French novel category for ‘Lopping’ and Lauren Groff who received the foreign novel prize for ‘Les Furies.’
Chimamanda spent some time in the French capital Paris, where she was a special guest of Dior at the Dior Haute Couture show, and 70th anniversary celebration.
Adichie’s French publisher, Marie-Pierre Gracedieu of Gallimard said, “When I read Dear Ijeawele, I felt an urge to share it with many friends, women and men, who had become parents of a girl in the recent years. Then I started to feel it had to be read by parents of boys too. And thereafter by everyone of us to investigate our own education, and try to overcome a few inherited clichés. Therefore to publish it at Gallimard has meant a lot to me, and it is a very rewarding experience to see it awarded the Grand Prix de l’Héroïne by Madame Figaro, a prize that celebrates the power of literature and of characters as role models.”
“The fact that such an established and popular weekly has understood the importance of spreading the content of this letter-manifesto, even in the Western world, and especially in the political context we are now, brings me joy and hope.”
Chimamanda had earlier in the week announced the reason why the annual Farafina Workshop didn’t take place this year, citing the withdrawal of the main sponsor. There’s no denying that Chimamanda’s continues cementing her place in world literature.