Marie NDiaye wins France's top literary prize

Mon Nov 2, 2009 12:28pm EST
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PARIS (Reuters Life!) - Marie Ndiaye won France's top literary award, the Prix Goncourt, on Monday, the first woman to do so since 1998.

The 42-year-old won for her novel "Trois Femmes Puissantes" ("Three Powerful Women"), a story about the interweaving lives of three women set in France and Senegal.

"This gives me great pleasure and I am also very happy to be a woman receiving the Goncourt Prize," NDiaye told reporters.

The prize is worth a symbolic 10 euros ($14.80) in cash, but much more in publicity-generated sales.

As it is each year, the winner was announced to a crowd of journalists jammed into the foyer of the Drouant restaurant in central Paris after the jury had made its decision over lunch.

NDiaye was born in 1967 to a Senegalese father who left France when she was one year old and a French mother. The author spent her childhood living in a Parisian suburb where she began to write at the age of 12. She lives in Berlin with her three children.

<p>French author Marie Ndiaye (C) speaks to the media in front the Drouant restaurant in Paris November 2, 2009 after she received the literary Goncourt Prize for her novel "Trois femmes puissantes" (Three Powerful Women). REUTERS/Benoit Tessier</p>