An Afghan author penning a book for the first time in French has won the Prix Goncourt, France's most prestigious literary prize.
Atiq Rahimi received the prize for Syngue Sabour. The title translates as Stone of Patience.
The novel tells the story of a woman in a country resembling Afghanistan whose husband lies paralyzed because of a bullet.
As she cares for him, she tells stories of her life to him, including many he has never heard.
The Prix Goncourt, won by writers such as Marcel Proust, Simone de Beauvoir and Marguerite Duras, comes with a small cash prize of 10 euros ($13), but guarantees a boost in sales for the author.
The winner was announced Monday after the jury met, as is traditional, in the restaurant Drouant in Paris.
Also announced was the winner of the Renaudot prize Guinean writer Tierno Monenembo for Le Roi de Kahel (The King of Kahel), a book set in 19th-century West Africa.
Jury members praised Syngue Sabour for its elegant portrayal of the oppressive nature of Afghan society.
"It's a book of extraordinary quality,'' said jury member Edmonde Charles-Roux.
Rahimi, born in 1962, left Afghanistan in his 20s and gained asylum in France, where he studied filmmaking at the Sorbonne.
He returned to Afghanistan in 2002 after the fall of the Taliban.
There he filmed Earth and Ashes, based on his debut novel of the same name, which won acclaim at the Cannes Film Festival.
Rahimi had written earlier works in Persian, but said he switched to French because of the freedom it gave him in his writing.
"Once I found my roots, my languages, my origins, it was hard to continue in Persian," he said. "After returning [to Afghanistan], I wanted to address more important questions taboos and the intimacy of the Afghan people, and my native tongue didn't allow for that."
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Atiq Rahimi was born in Afghanistan in 1962. He fled to France in 1984 to escape the Soviet coup, where he has made a name as a writer and filmmaker of note. He has been deeply involved in Afghan cultural life since the American invasion, particularly in the creation of a "Writer's House" in Kabul. He lives in Paris.
"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.
Book Description P.O.L, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110320079260
Book Description P.O.L, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0320079260
Book Description French and European Publications Inc, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: Brand New. french edition. 154 pages. 7.90x5.50x0.60 inches. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # 0320079260