Marie NDiaye

"NDiaye" redirects here. For other people of similar names, see Ndiaye (disambiguation) and N'Diaye (disambiguation).
Marie NDiaye
Born (1967-06-04) 4 June 1967
Pithiviers, Loiret, France
Occupation Novelist
Period 1984–present

Marie NDiaye (born 4 June 1967 in Pithiviers, Loiret) is a French novelist and playwright. She published her first novel, Quant au riche avenir, when she was 17. She won the Prix Goncourt in 2009. Her play Papa doit manger is the sole play by a living female writer to be part of the repertoire of the Comédie française.


NDiaye was born in Pithiviers, France, less than a hundred kilometers south of Paris, to a French mother and a Senegalese father. She grew up with her mother in the suburbs of Paris. Her parents met as students in the mid 1960s, but her father left for Africa when she was only one year old.

She began writing at the age of 12. As a senior in high school, she was discovered by Jerome Lindon, founder of Éditions de Minuit, who published her first novel, Quant au riche avenir.[1] After her first novel she wrote a further six, all published by Minuit, and a collection of short stories. She also wrote her Comédie classique, a 200-page novel made up of a single sentence, which was published by POL when she was 21 years old. As well as writing novels, NDiaye has written a number of plays and a screenplay. Papa doit manger is only the second play by a female writer to be taken into the repertoire of the Comédie française.

In 1988, NDiaye wrote a letter to the press in which she argued that her novel La Sorcière, published two years later, had strongly informed the content of Naissance des fantômes, the second novel of successful author Marie Darrieussecq.[2]

Her novel Trois femmes puissantes won the 2009 Prix Goncourt.[3] In his 2013 critical study of the author, Marie NDiaye: Blankness and Recognition, British academic Andrew Asibong describes NDiaye as "the epitome of a certain kind of cultural brilliance",[4] arguing elsewhere in the book, a psychoanalytic exploration of the writer's evocation of trauma and disavowal, that "NDiaye's work explores the violence done to the subject's capacity for feeling and knowing".[5]

Exile in Berlin

In an interview published by Les Inrockuptibles on 30 August 2009, NDiaye declared about Sarkozy's France, "I find that France monstrous. The fact that we [with her companion (the writer Jean-Yves Cendrey) and their three children-- editor's note] have chosen to live in Berlin for two years is far from being unrelated to that. We left just after the elections, in a large part because of Sarkozy, even if I am very aware that saying that can seem snobbish. I find that atmosphere of vulgarity and heavy policing detestable ... Besson, Hortefeux, all of those people, I find them monstrous".[6]

Awards and honours

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Novels and short stories


Children's novels




  1. Raphaëlle Rérolle, "Libre d’écrire", Le Monde, 3 November 2009.
  2. Antoine de Gaudemar, "Marie NDiaye polémique avec Marie Darrieussecq", Libération, 3 March 1998.
  3. Novelist NDiaye wins France's top literary prize
  4. Andrew Asibong, Marie NDiaye: Blankness and Recognition, Liverpool University Press, 2013, p. 9.
  5. Asibong, Marie NDiaye (2013), p. 13.
  6. "L'écrivain Marie Ndiaye aux prises avec le monde", interview by Nelly Kaprielian, Les Inrockuptibles, 30 August 2009.
  7. "Marie N'Diaye erhält Nelly-Sachs-Preis". (in German). September 7, 2015. Retrieved September 8, 2015.
  8. "The Man Booker International Prize 2016 Longlist Announced", The Man Booker Prizes, 2016.
  9. "Marie NDiaye", The Man Booker Prizes.
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