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African fiction prize

6 February 2024

Runner-up for first novel

Alumnus Fayssal Bensalah (PhD 2023) has taken runner-up place in the 2023 Graywolf Press African Fiction Prize.

This is only the third iteration of the prestigious prize awarded for a first novel by an African author primarily residing in Africa.

A literary Western with magically real elements, The Couscous Western follows three generations of Muslim women trying to cope with the grief of losing a loved one.

Booker-Prize listed judge Tsitsi Dangarembga praised Bensalah for the delicious irony of his storytelling, his original and vivid imagery and his zest, sensitivity and skill in creating his protagonist.

The young Algerian writer is unusual for writing in English as opposed to French or Arabic.

Recently gaining his doctorate Dr Fayssal Bensalah also teaches creative writing at the School of English, Communication and Philosophy.

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