L’odyssée des oubliés – Khalil Diallo

– Novel –


How do Sembouyane, a West African man from a small village, his childhood friend Idy, a world-renowned writer, and a feminist woman cross paths on the perilous underground migration routes?

Through a breathtaking odyssey spanning the Western coast of Africa, the desert, and the Mediterranean shore, inspired by Greek classics, Khalil Diallo takes us on a tragic journey with Sembouyane and his fellow travelers, all seeking a better future despite facing numerous hardships.

Despite the characters enduring great suffering and disillusionment, they never lose their ability to dream, make choices, and fight for their universal right to dignity. Diallo’s lyrical and poetic language, infused with magical realism, paints an uncompromising picture of contemporary Africa in The Odyssey of the Forgotten.

In this novel, Diallo tackles themes of exile, friendship, memory, and dignity, delivering a powerful work that has been praised by Alexia Trigo, the US translator of the French Voices award-winning novel Brotherhood by Mbougar Sarr.

I foresaw his speech even before it left his lips. It was a familiar tale, one that we had heard time and time again. Like a vulture circling above carrion, he profited from the world’s misfortunes. Acknowledging our prolonged wait, he assured us that this evening would be our last, and that a new, dreamlike existence awaited us. His words held a hypnotic quality, akin to a caress, the strength of potent opium, and the alluring enchantment of dreams.


Publication: L’Harmattan Senegal, 2020; Emmanuelle Collas, 2021; Orlanda Verlag (German), 2023
Language: French
Rights: French to L’Harmattan Sénégal & Emmanuelle Collas; German to Orlanda Verlag. Portuguese rights sold.
Genre: Novel
Extent: 337 p. (Senegalese edition); 188 p. (French edition)
Material: English sample by Alexia Trigo

Rights inquiries: Here


Khalil Diallo is a Senegalese writer. He was born in Mauritania. His first novel A l’orée du trépas (L’Harmattan Sénégal, 2018) was shortlisted in the Prix Orange du livre en Afrique 2019, the Prix Ahmadou Kourouma 2019 et the Prix Ivoire 2019. L’odyssée des oubliés is his second novel and was awarded the Prix Ahmed Baba 2021, the Prix Racine Senghor 2023, and shortlisted in the Prix Ahmadou Kourouma 2021, Prix Ivoire 2022, Prix Mare Nostrum 2022, and Prix Jesus Paradis 2022.

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