Dirty Feet
2013 Longlist

Dirty Feet

Translated from the original French by Lazer Lederhendler
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ABOUT
THE BOOK

A finalist for France’s prestigious Prix Goncourt literary award, Dirty Feet is a remarkable, inventive, and darkly compelling novel that tells the story of one man’s journey to retrace the steps of the mysterious, nomadic father who abandoned him years earlier.

As a small child, Askia was forced, along with his family, to wander the African desert as if under a curse. First driven from their home by drought and hunger, they were then kept out of the villages by those who did not want to see their “dirty feet” stay for too long.

Years later, it seems Askia is destined to relive his family’s curse night after night as he roams the streets of Paris in his taxi. One evening, he picks up Olia, a young woman who claims to recognize his face, telling him that his features are similar to those of a man she photographed years ago. Had it been his father, the mysterious Sidi Ben Sylla Mohammed? The father who migrated north without them, the father he has so often dreamt about; the father whom he aches to meet? With Olia’s help, Askia sets out to retrace Sidi’s steps. But before he can embark on this new journey, he must first confront his violent past.

A brutal, indelibly powerful look at the harrowing, often tragic lives of those who are condemned to wander.

ABOUT
THE AUTHOR Edem
Awumey

Edem Awumey was born in Togo in 1975. His first novel, Port-Mélo, won the Grand prix littéraire d’Afrique noire, one of the most distinguished literary prizes in Africa, and his second novel, the French edition of Dirty Feet (Les pieds sales), was a finalist for one of France’s most prestigious literary awards, the Prix Goncourt. Awumey now lives in Canada, where he is a teacher.

Edem Awumey was born in Togo in 1975. His first novel, Port-Mélo, won the Grand prix littéraire d’Afrique noire, one of the most distinguished literary prizes in Africa, and his second novel, the French edition of Dirty Feet (Les pieds sales), was a finalist for one of France’s most prestigious literary awards, the Prix Goncourt. Awumey now lives in Canada, where he is a teacher.

ABOUT
THE TRANSLATOR Lazer
Lederhendler

Lazer Lederhendler is a Canadian literary translator and academic.

A four-time nominee for the Governor General’s Award for French to English translation, he won the award in 2008 for his translation of Nicolas Dickner’s novel Nikolski. He has also been nominated for his translations of works by Claire Dé (The Sparrow Has Cut the Day in Half), Pierre Tourangeau (Larry Volt), Edem Awumey (Dirty Feet) and Gaétan Soucy (The Immaculate Conception). His translation of The Immaculate Conception was also a nominee for the 2006 Scotiabank Giller Prize, and won the French-to-English Translation Prize from the Quebec Writers’ Federation Awards. His translation of The Party Wall by Catherine Leroux won the 2016 Governor General’s Literary Award and was shortlisted for the 2016 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Lederhendler teaches English and film at the Collège international des Marcellines in Montreal, Quebec. He went to the Bundist Camp Hemshekh.

Lazer Lederhendler is a Canadian literary translator and academic.

A four-time nominee for the Governor General’s Award for French to English translation, he won the award in 2008 for his translation of Nicolas Dickner’s novel Nikolski. He has also been nominated for his translations of works by Claire Dé (The Sparrow Has Cut the Day in Half), Pierre Tourangeau (Larry Volt), Edem Awumey (Dirty Feet) and Gaétan Soucy (The Immaculate Conception). His translation of The Immaculate Conception was also a nominee for the 2006 Scotiabank Giller Prize, and won the French-to-English Translation Prize from the Quebec Writers’ Federation Awards. His translation of The Party Wall by Catherine Leroux won the 2016 Governor General’s Literary Award and was shortlisted for the 2016 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Lederhendler teaches English and film at the Collège international des Marcellines in Montreal, Quebec. He went to the Bundist Camp Hemshekh.

NOMINATING LIBRARY COMMENTS

This book was finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award 2011, the highest Canadian prize, in the category “Translation – French to English”. The original novel also figures in the first selection of the prize Goncourt 2009.

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Date published
01/01/2009
Country
Canada, Togo
Original Language
French
Author
Publisher
House of Anansi Press
Translator
Lazer Lederhendler
Translation
Translated from the original French by Lazer Lederhendler

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