Haitian-born Québec writer Dany Laferrière has won the 2009 Prix Médicis for his novel L’Énigme du retour (The Enigma of Return). The award is one of France’s most highly esteemed literary honours.
This autobiographical novel tells the story of a weary man in exile. When he learns that his father has died, he returns to the homeland he abruptly left over thirty years earlier. Hailed by the French press, the work is regarded as a major event of the 2009 literary season. L’Énigme du retour is Dany Laferrière’s 19th novel.
Laferrière divides his time between Montréal, New York and Miami, and considers himself a citizen of America. It was in this mindset that he authored what he calls his American autobiography, a project he worked on from 1985 to 2000 and that includes ten novels depicting America, from Haiti to Montréal via the United States.
Dany Laferrière, who is also a journalist and columnist, is the second Québec author to receive this prestigious award. Marie-Claire Blais was the first in 1966.
L’Énigme du retour was published in Québec by Éditions du Boréal and in France by Grasset.