The Senegalese writer Mohamed Mbougar Sarr as well as the translator Sabine Müller and the translator Holger Fock will receive the 2023 International Literature Prize, worth a total of 35,000 euros, for the novel “The Most Secret Memory of Man”.

The author, who had already been awarded the Prix Goncourt 2021 for the French original “La plus secrète mémoire des hommes”, was presented with the award on Saturday at the Berlin House of World Cultures (HKW).

The prize from the HKW and the Elementary Particle Foundation was awarded for the 15th time. According to the information, the award will be given to an outstanding work of contemporary international literature in a first German translation. This is intended to honor both the original work (20,000 euros) and the translation (15,000 euros). Since this year, first German translations of international poetry can also be submitted.

From the jury’s point of view, Sarr’s novel locates “oral storytelling in the world of literature.” The work is “full of humor, eroticism and intellectual depth, in an elegant and breathtakingly knowledgeable casualness”. The work is “a stunning reflection on literature, the freedom of the writer, and also his freedom to remain silent.” The translation by Müller and Fock allows the daring of Sarr’s imagination and the elegance of his sentences to shine through without rushing after either. “Sarr’s pace and wit come into their own in the language of Müller and Fock, as do the tenderness and intellectual power of his novel.”

Information about the literary prize Information about the novel