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David Diop wins 2021 International Booker Prize

David Diop wins 2021 International Booker Prize

French writer David Diop has won the 2021 International Booker Prize for his novel At Night All Blood is Black, translated by Anna Moschovakis.

The International Booker Prize is a yearly award that celebrates the best of international fiction translated into English. Diop is the first French author to win the £50,000 annual prize, which was split with his translator.

At Night All Blood is Black follows Sengalese soldier Alfa Ndiaye fighting for France during the First World War. After the death of his childhood friend on the battlefield, Alfa begins to lose his sanity.

Diop's Sengalese great-grandfather faught in the First World War, and the author was inspired about his refusal to talk about his experiences in the war.

Booker judge an historian Lucy Hughes-Hallet said the novel was 'extraordinary', and, 'reading it, you feel you are being hypnotised.'

About the Book

Alfa diaye and Mademba Diop are two of the many Senegalese tirailleurs who fight in the Great War under the French flag. Whenever Captain Armand blows his whistle they climb out of their trenches to attack the blue-eyed enemy. But one day Mademba is mortally wounded, and without his friend, his more-than-brother, Alfa is alone amidst the savagery of the trenches, far from all he knows and holds dear. He throws himself into combat with renewed vigour, but soon he begins to scare even his own comrades in arms.

Here David Diop captures the tragedy of a young man's mind hurtling towards madness and tells the little-heard story of the Senegalese who fought for France on the Western Front.