Abdel Aziz Baraka Sakin is one of Sudan’s most prominent and celebrated writers, as well as one of the country’s most-banned. As recently as this February, his The Messiah of Darfur was seized from a Khartoum book fair. This was not the first time the novel was removed from a fair — Sakin told the AFP in 2012 the novel had been seized from that year’s Khartoum International Book Fair.
Sakin, who now lives in exile, said in an interview with Sudan’s Radio Dabanga that “the announcement [of the book prize] is a declaration of victory not only for me but for all Sudanese.”
The annual La Cène Littéraire is for works of African literature that have been translated into French.
The Messiah was Sakin’s first novel in French translation. He has a story, “Butcher’s Daughter,” in the collection Book of Khartoum, edited by Shmookler and Raph Cormack, and his al-Jango, which won the Al-Tayeb Saleh Award in 2011, was published in translation by Adil Babakir as The Jungo: Stakes of the Earth (2015).
The La Cène Littéraire awards ceremony is set to take place on this April 29 as part of the Geneva Book Fair.
Click here for further information on other shortlisted books.