Kettly Mars Received Prix Ivoire of African Literature 2015

On Saturday, November 21, 2015, in the presence of distinguished personalities from the literary circle and friends of writer Kettly Mars, during a gala dinner at the Palace of Culture of Treichville, Abidjan (Ivory Coast), the Haitian writer Kettly Mars, has been awarded the 'Prix Ivoire' by the jury for African Francophone Literature for her novel "Je suis vivant (I am alive)" published in April 2015 by Mercure de France Press. The jury was headed by Ivorian writer Werewere-Liking (winner of Prix Noma 2005), well known for his work titled "Amputated Memory". "Prix Ivoire" is an important literary prize, awarded every year with the support of the Ivorian Minister of Culture and Francophone and the French Embassy in Cote d"ivoire at the initiative of the Ivorian Association for Akwaba Culture.

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"Je suis vivant" is the seventh work of fiction by Kettly; it is a story about eighty-six year old Eliane and her children. Eliane has managed the entire household and her family for a long time suppressing her own dreams and desires. The story is about her child Alexandre who is a schizophrenic, had lived in an institution for forty years. He would be coming back to live with his family because the institution that had cared for him for long forty years, could not provide support to him anymore. The story begins with the backdrop of 2010 devastating earthquake and the endemic cholera outbreak when Eliane's family at Port-au-Prince was in a shattered state itself. The earthquake took about 300,000 lives in thirty five seconds and more than one million souls in three cities became homeless. The family had only two days time to learn and accept Alexandre as a family member and vice versa.

Kettly has created the plot from her own experience that she had witnessed from her surroundings. The readers won't find the characters of her book unfamiliar with their typical middle class mindset, loves, sentiments, selfishness and little cowardice.

Kettly Mars was born September 3, 1958 in Port-au-Prince where she lives now. She won Jacques Stéphen Alexis Prize in 1996, Prix Senghor in 2006, Bourse Barbancourt in 2011, and Prince Claus Award in 2011. Her first major collection of short stories and poetry, "Un parfum d'encens", was published in 1999. Her other earlier novels are: Kasalé, Vents d'Ailleurs (2003), L'heure hybride, Vents d'Ailleurs (2005), Fado, Mercure de France (2008), Saisons sauvages, Mercure de France (2010), Le prince noir de Lillian Russell, with Leslie Péan, Mercure de France (2011) and Aux Frontières de la soif, Mercure de France (2013).

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