#WITMonth Day 2: Marie NDiaye

NDIAYE Marie photo C.      Hélie Gallimard COUL 10 11.09cropped copy.jpg

Marie NDiaye is a novelist, essayist and playwright. She was born in Pithiviers in 1967, to a French mother and Senegalese father. Her parents met as students in the mid-1960s, but her father left for Senegal when NDiaye was a year old, and she grew up with her mother in the suburbs of Paris.

She began writing at the age of twelve and was "spotted" by Jerome Lindon, the founder of Editions de Minuit, who published NDiaye's first novel, Quant au riche avenir, in 1985 when she was only seventeen.  

Marie NDiaye has won the Prix Femina (Rosie Carpe in 2001) and the Prix Goncourt (Three Strong Women, 2009). Her play Papa Doit Manger made her the only living woman to have a play taken into the repertoire of the Comédie Française. In 2016, her novel Ladivine was longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize.

In 2007, after the election of Nicolas Sarkozy, NDiaye left France with her family to live in Berlin. Commenting on her decision to leave, Ndiaye said: "I find France monstrous. The fact that we have chosen to live in Berlin for two years is by no means unrelated. We left just after the elections, largely because of Sarkozy, although I realise I might sound like a snob for saying so. I find it detestable, that atmosphere of heavy policing, of coarseness . . . Besson, Hortefeux, they are repulsive. There is a phrase of Marguerite Duras', which is really a little silly, but which I like even if I have no wish to make it my own. She said "the Right is death". For me, these people are an exemplification of death, a deadening of thought, a rejection of possible difference. And even if Angela Merkel is a woman of the Right, she is nothing to do with the Right of Sarkozy; she has a sense of morality that the French Right has lost."

Recommended reading

The following works by Marie NDiaye are currently available in English translation:

Ladivine, translated from the French by Jordan Stump (MacLehose Press, 2016)

Three Strong Women, translated from the French by John Fletcher (MacLehose Press 2013)