The protégé

Published in 2007

Edem Awumey, 32, has put the theme of exile at the heart of his fiction.

Originally from Lomé, capital of Togo, Edem – who writes under his first name – now lives in Quebec. After taking two degrees in literature (1995-2000) from Lomé University, he won a UNESCO-Aschberg scholarship in 2000 to be writer-in-residence in Marnay-sur-Seine, in France. Between 2000 and 2005, he earned diplomas in languages and literature and cultural development at the Université de Cergy-Pontoise. He then completed his doctorate, whose subject, the literature of exile, echoes the work of Tahar Ben Jelloun.

Originally a writer of short stories, Edem made a breakthrough in 2006 when Port-Mélo, his first novel, was released by Gallimard. The novel won the Grand prix littéraire de l’Afrique noire 2006, one of Africa’s leading literary awards.