Stéphanie Coste, writing in the skin of the executioner

Audio 29:00

Writer Stéphanie Coste in studio at RFI (May 2021).

© Catherine Fruchon-Toussaint / RFI

By: Catherine Fruchon-Toussaint

31 min

Stéphanie Coste lived until her adolescence between Senegal and Djibouti.

She has been living in Lisbon for a few years.

“Le passeur” is his first novel, he was awarded the Closerie des Lilas 2021 Prize.


The Ferryman © Gallimard

"When we have done, as Seyoum says cynically," 

with hope, our business 

", when we have become one of the biggest smugglers on the Libyan coast, and our brains have been devoured by khat and alcohol, are we still capable of humanity?

This is the whole question that arises when an umpteenth convoy arrives filled with desperate candidates for the crossing.

With this particular convoy suddenly all his past goes back: his family destroyed by the dictatorship in Eritrea, the forced recruitment in the Sawa camp, the scenes of torture, the flight, the imprisonment, his lost love ...

Through the crossed destinies of these migrants and their executioner, Stéphanie Coste draws up a large fresco of the history of a bruised continent.

His writing of incredible strength, carved with a billhook, in a breathless rhythm takes us to the depths of the madness of men. "(Presentation of

Gallimard editions



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  • France

  • Literature

  • Libya

  • Eritrea

  • International Migration

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On the same subject

Senegal: a smuggler tried in the "Doudou Faye" case sentenced to two years in prison

Canary Islands: smugglers arrested after the death of fourteen migrants

Smugglers eject migrants from boat off Djibouti: at least eight dead