Ultima for Literature goes to Rachida Lamrabet
On Tuesday 18 February, Rachida Lamrabet was awarded the Ultima for Literature, a Culture Award from the Flemish Community. The award comes with a cash prize of 10,000 euro.
The Ultimas jury report describes Rachida Lamrabet as ‘a talented writer who tells stories that are not told by anyone else. Her eclectic oeuvre introduces a new – and much-needed – voice to Flemish literature. In her complex, multi-layered stories she matches literary erudition with empathy.’
Rachida Lamrabet (b. 1970) writes novels, short stories, theatre texts and essays. Her work is strongly inspired by the themes of migration and identity. Her most recent novel Tell Someone is a captivating chronicle of a Moroccan soldier fighting alongside the French during World War I. It’s a story that is forgotten all too often: that of the people from the colonies who were swept up in a war that was not theirs. That alone makes it an important book, according to the Ultimas jury, one that is epitomised by ‘an authentic, imaginative style. In poetic descriptions, with great attention to detail as well as with nuance and precision, the author addresses hugely relevant topics, including identity, racism and social inequality. Lamrabet depicts complex, well-rounded characters, who challenge the readers and force them to think. Her work is never art for art’s sake, but always rooted in great social engagement.’