Rabat – In the 25th Maghreb-Orient of Books in Paris, Moroccan novelist Meryem Alaoui won the literary prize Beur FM Mediterranee on Saturday, February 9, for her first novel “Truth Comes out from the Horse’s Mouth,” or “La verite sort de la bouche du cheval” in French.
The event gave Alaoui the 22nd literary award at the l’Hotel de Ville in Paris.
Narrated in the first person, Meryem Alaoui’s novel follows the story of Jmiaa and the characters who “punctuate her everyday life.”
Jmiaa is a prostitute who lives in Casablanca alone with her daughter.
Despite boasting a strong character, the quick-witted Jmiaa struggles to depict the world around her: Her beloved Chaiba, a taciturn yet browbeating bully; Halima, her depressive associate; and Mouy, her mother, whose character is hardly placable.
The protagonist’s life witnesses a turn of events when she meets filmmaker Chadlia. Chadlia, who goes by the nickname of “the Horse’s Mouth,” is looking for actresses and wants to make a movie to reflect life in Casablanca, especially Jmiaa’s neighborhood.
Alaoui’s 2018 book was taken out of the running for the prestigious French book award Goncourt Prize after competing along with a shortlist of authors that includes Pauline Delabroy-Allard, David Diop, Paul Greveillac, and Nicolas Mathieu.
Meryem Alaoui has now managed to claim the prestigious Beur FM Mediterranee, succeeding Moroccan author Leila El Alami.