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Haiti's Yanick Lahens wins France's Femina literary prize

Yanick Lahens, Paris 3 Nov 2014
Yanick Lahens, Paris 3 Nov 2014 Reuters/Charles Platiau

An all-woman jury awarded France's prestigious Femina Prize to Haiti's Yanick Lahens on Monday for Bain de lune, a family epic interwoven with the challenges facing her home country.


Israel's Zeruya Shalev scooped the best foreign-language novel section of the prize for "The Remains of Love", about a mother who in her twilight years reflects on her two children, one of whom she loves intensely and another she cannot love enough.

"I'm really happy," Lahens said, "this book and this prize are proof that Haitian culture is very strong and the novel shows how much we in Haiti can always recover from ordeals."

Lahens was born in Port-au-Prince in 1953 and has since become a prominent figure in Haitian literature who is also actively engaged in the social and cultural development of the country.

Christine Jordis, spokeswoman for the Femina jury, said the novel transported readers away from their usual horizons.

"The author has a big imagination, she talks about her dead ancestors who still have a very strong influence on the living," said Jordis.

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