Macron appoints author as French language champion

President Emmanuel Macron has appointed award-winning French-Moroccan writer Leïla Slimani to champion the French language and “represent the open face of Francophonie”.

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Slimani will be named “Francophone affairs minister”, a role to which she will bring “talent and energy”, according to a tweet by Macron himself.

Slimani - a public Macron supporter - first met the now-President during his presidential election campaign, and was reportedly initially offered the role of culture minister but declined. She has now accepted the Francophonie role, reports French newspaper Le Figaro today.

Slimani won the prestigious French literature prize, the Prix Goncourt, for her second novel, Chanson Douce (Lullaby) in 2016, and won the Moroccan La Mamounia award for her first book, Dans Le Jardin de l’Ogre (In the Garden of the Ogre).

Macron has said he hopes she will appear as a strong role model for France’s younger generation.

Her remit will include a wide array of issues, the statement from the Elysée read, including “education, culture, female-male equality, youth jobs and mobility, the battle against climate change, and the development of new technology”.

Originally Moroccan-born, Slimani holds both a French and Moroccan passport, and is known for her boundary-breaking work and outspoken views.

Her latest book is named Sexe et Mensonges (Sex and Lies), and is about sexuality in her country of origin. She has also previously branded Moroccan law as “medieval”, and publicly denounced the wearing of the burqa.

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