David Diop, a French-Senegalese writer and literature professor, becomes the first author of French nationality to be the winner of the International Booker Prize, a highly prestigious literary award held every hear for books translated into the English language.
The winning novel, 'At Night All Blood is Black', was prompted by the story of his Senegalese great-grandfather and his silence about the trauma and mental anguish he experienced during the first world war fighting with French troops in opposition to the Central Powers.
The prize, which is a whopping £50,000, will be divided between the author and his novel's translator Anna Moschovakis, an acclaimed American writer.
"More than a century after World War One, a great new African writer is asking these questions in a spare yet extraordinary novel about this bloody stain on human history," the New York Times remarked.
The writer spoke to the BBC on his win and his great-grandfather, saying: "He never said anything to his wife, or to my mother, about his experience. That is why I was always very interested by all the tales and accounts which gave one access to a form of intimacy with that particular war."
The chair of the judges, Lucy Hughes-Hallett, remarked that "this story of warfare and love and madness has a terrifying power. We judges agreed that its incantatory prose and dark, brilliant vision had jangled our emotions and blown our minds. That it had cast a spell on us."