The Birdcage Archives

Friday 12 October 2018

Maryse Condé Wins the Alternative Nobel Prize for Literature

Hello Gentle Reader

The Guadelopean writer Maryse Condé has won the “Alternative Nobel Prize for Literature,” or to be more precise and true: “The New Academy’s Prize for Literature.” Maryse Condé has cordially accepted the announcement with casual grace. Of the original four shortlisted authors: Haruki Murakami, Kim Thúy, Neil Gaimon, and Maryse Condé—Only Murakami and Condé, have ever been truly considered contenders for the real Nobel Prize for Literature.

Maryse Condé is best described as one of the greatest French language writers hailing from the Caribbean. Her narratives are renowned for their unique multicultural heritage, and poignant eye cast on the Caribbean’s history as a former colony, a history which still overshadows many countries in the tropical region. With remarks on the award she hopes the prize will help recognize Guadeloupe as more than just a former French colony, and a place to mention due to a hurricane or earthquake, but a vibrant and beautiful country riddled with a multicultural background, and thriving literary scene. The judges for the award have called Maryse Condé a world class storyteller, whose language is ravished with emotional intensity, while also being intensely aware of the colonial history and postcolonial present, and a future which continually is reshaped by ever desire for change and progress. Her work is known for its piercing commentary on the acts of the human heart against the backdrop of history, and telling the unique narratives, histories, and personal stories of the island nation of Guadeloupe.

When it first came to my attention that the New Academy’s Prize for Literature would be operated on ‘democratic and transparent,’ principles—in other words populist philandering; I held the view of contempt and disdain for the new award. I viewed the award as a satirical slap in the face to the Swedish Academy, who at the time acted like rotten children in a sandbox, unable to cooperate or get along or handle their issues in private with decency and decorum fitting of an institution as itself. When it came to review the longlist of authors and the fact it was open to the public, I shook my head and scoffed at many of the writers listed, which had proven my own theories and distaste towards the award, as it postured and paraded the public’s opinion of what good literature is—which is not necessarily true. However, now that I see a deserving writer takes the award, I won’t say I am disappointed or as contemptuous as I was. Maryse Condé is a worthy writer and a accomplished intellectual, whose novels explore the unique world of slavery, colonialism, post-colonialism, identity and self-worth all through the lens of a torrid and horrific history, which thankfully is not deprived of the unflinching and unyielding qualities of the human heart to resist and grow no matter the circumstance. Maryse Condé is more than deserving of the award.

Thank-you For Reading Gentle Reader
Take Care
And As Always
Stay Well Read

M. Mary

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