Sunday, 14 July 2024 08:04

Zineb Mekouar wins" Prix du meilleur roman des lecteurs et des libraires Points 2024 "

Wednesday, 19 June 2024

Moroccan author Zineb Mekouar received the prize for the best novel awarded by readers and bookstores in Paris on Tuesday 18 June 2024 from the leading French publishing house "Points" for her novel "La poule et son cumin".

Ms Mekouar received the prize during a ceremony held in the Moroccan embassy in France, which was attended by the members of the jury and a large number of intellectuals and artists.

The novel by Zineb Mekouar, which was published in 2022 by JC Lattès in the La Grenade collection, recounts the destiny of two young Moroccan women who are complete opposites: Kenza and Fatiha. Kenza comes from a wealthy family and is studying at Sciences Po-Paris. When she decides to return to Casablanca, she reconnects with her childhood friend Fatiha, her nanny's daughter.

Using the crossed narratives of Kenza and Fatiha, Zineb Mekouar combines the destinies of the two characters caught between submission and transgression. Throughout this major drama, their wounds and dramas are closely tied in with Morocco's contemporary political and social rifts.

Addressing the award ceremony, the Moroccan ambassador to Paris, Samira Sitaïl, declared she was "impressed" with the way in which Zineb Mekouar portrays Moroccan society in her novels " with so much realistic insight, while at the same time inspiring us to dream".

"It's your talent, Zineb, your great talent. It is not only me who is saying this, but the Jury as well as the readers who have appreciated how far you have come as a writer," said Ms Sitaïl, addressing the author.

She added that Zineb Mekouar, a French-Moroccan woman, represented "the best, the most beautiful, the strongest and the most intimate relationship between Morocco and France".

She went on to say that the talented young writer has contributed to promoting Franco-Moroccan friendship, praising her career as "a fine example and an inspiring one for all who wish both to write and see books published one day".

Speaking to the Moroccan Press Agency (MAP), Zineb Mekouar said she was very moved and proud to have received the award at the Moroccan embassy.

"It's very meaningful for me, because it is about my country. The inspiration for my writing is my love of Morocco and the desire to share it with others through words", she said, pointing out that the issues addressed in her novel "La Poule et son cumin" (The Chicken and its Cumin), in particular "gender equality in Morocco and our relationship with foreigners, in France, are close to my heart".

"I'm also very happy that my second novel Souviens-toi des abeilles which was published recently, is among the Académie Goncourt's summer favourites", she said.

As for her future projects, Zineb Mekouar already has a third novel in mind. "At the moment, I'm deep in thought about my third novel", she confides, asserting that her writing will always be imbued with Morocco, the country of her childhood.

Born in 1991 in Casablanca, Zineb Mekouar lives in Paris. She moved to Paris in 2009. After studying at Science Po and HEC Paris, she worked as a strategy consultant before taking charge of public affairs at a start-up incubator.

Established in 2013, the Prix du meilleur roman des lecteurs de la maison d'édition française "Points" awards a prize for the best novel by a jury of 100 readers and 30 professionals (booksellers), for a selection of around ten books each year.

With MAP

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