4809Passa Porta 2018© Mirjam Devriendt

French-language literature in the spotlight

Any author who writes in French and is published by a French-language publishing house is eligible for the ‘Prix des 5 continents’. The prize is a tribute to the richness of the French language and to the vast cultural diversity of which it is a reflection.

The Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) established the prestigious prize in 2001. Every year the organization rewards ‘a narrative work of fiction that depicts a specific culture and enriches the French language’. Recent laureates include the Tunisians Yamen Manai and Fawzia Zouari, the Congolese In Koli Jean Bofane and the Algerian Kamel Daoud.

Reading committees and an international jury of writers

Pcf Foto Monde

Five reading committees – in France, Senegal, Belgium, Canada and the Congo – make a first selection for the Prix des 5 continents:

each committee nominates ten books on the basis of the works’ intrinsic literary qualities and the prize’s specific criteria. The delegates of each committee then meet at the headquarters of the OIF in Paris and draw up a shortlist with ten finalists.

Passa Porta is in charge of the Belgian reading committee. In close collaboration with the department ‘Promotion des Lettres’ of the French-speaking Community/Wallonia-Brussels Federation, our house selects four reading committee members from the literary world. For the 2021 edition, the Belgian reading committee consists of Dulia Lengema, Nicole Debarre, Maud Joiret, Nausica Dewez and Michel Torrekens..

An 11-member jury composed of renowned writers, who all come from the Francophonie, deliberates over the ten shortlisted titles. The jury is presided by Paula Jacques (France/Egypt) and consists of J.M.G. Le Clézio (Mauritius), Lise Bissonnette (Canada), Ananda Devi (Mauritius), Hubert Haddad (Tunisia/France), Monique Ilboudo (Burkina Faso), Vénus Khoury-Ghata (Lebanon), René de Obaldia (Hong Kong), Lyonel Trouillot (Haiti) and the prize’s most recent laureate.


  • 2001: Yasmine Khlat (Lebanon) for Le désespoir est un péché (Le Seuil)
  • 2003: Marc Durin-Valois (France) for Chamelle (Jean-Claude Lattès)
  • 2004: Mathias Énard (France) for La Perfection du tir (Actes Sud)
  • 2005: Alain Mabanckou (Congo) for Verre cassé (Le Seuil)
  • 2006: Ananda Devi (Mauritius) for Ève de ses décombres (Gallimard)
  • 2007: Wilfried N'Sondé (France /Congo) for Le Cœur des enfants léopards( Actes Sud)
  • 2008: Hubert Haddad (France/Tunisia) for Palestine (Zulma)
  • 2009: Kossi Efoui (Togo) for Solo d'un revenant (Le Seuil)
  • 2010: Liliana Lazar (Romania) for Terre des affranchis (Gaïa)
  • 2011: Jocelyne Saucier (Canada) for Il pleuvait des oiseaux (XYZ)
  • 2012: Geneviève Damas (Belgium) for Si tu passes la rivière (Luce Wilquin)
  • 2013: Amal Sewtohul (Mauritius) for Made in Mauritius (Gallimard)
  • 2014: Kamel Daoud (Algeria) for Meursault, contre-enquête (Barzakh/Actes Sud)
  • 2015: In Koli Jean Bofane (Congo) for Congo Inc. le testament de Bismarck (Actes Sud)
  • 2016: Fawzia Zouari (Tunisia) for Le Corps de ma mère (Joëlle Losfeld/Demeter)
  • 2017: Yamen Manaï (Tunisia) for L'Amas ardent (Elyzad)
  • 2018 : Jean Marc Turine voor La théo des fleuves (Belgium) for La Théo des fleuves (Esperluète)
  • 2019 : Gilles Jobidon (Canada-Québec) for Le tranquille affligé (Leméac)
  • 2020 : Béata Umubyeyi Mairesse (Rwanda) for Tous tes enfants dispersés (Autrement)