Maryse Conde wins alternative literature prize in absence of Nobel

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Maryse Conde from the French Caribbean territory of Guadeloupe was awarded the New Academy Prize in Literature, created after the Swedish Academy postponed this year’s literary Nobel as it sought to deal with the aftermath of a rape scandal.

FILE PHOTO: France’s former culture minister Jack Lang (R) talks to Maryse Conde (L), President of the Committee for the Memory of Slavery at the MEDEF summer forum on the campus of the Ecole Polytechnique, in Palaiseau near Paris, France August 29, 2008. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

The New Academy was founded by more than 100 Swedish cultural figures earlier this year as a response to the scandal and the postponement of the Nobel.

“In her work she describes the ravages of colonialism, and the post-colonial chaos in a language which is both precise and overwhelming,” the New Academy said in awarding Conde the prize.

For the first time in decades, this year’s Nobel prizes included no literature award after deep disagreement and defections at the awarding body, the Swedish Academy, left it unable to select a winner.

The controversy centers on the husband of one of the Academy’s members who was sentenced to two years in prison for rape earlier this month. He has denied the allegations against him and is appealing the verdict.

The Swedish Academy named two new members last week and is working on filling other empty seats and rebuilding confidence.

Reporting by Daniel Dickson; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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