November 6, 2017 / 8:38 AM / a year ago

Macron taps author Slimani as French language emissary

FILE PHOTO: Moroccan-French author Leila Slimani arrives at the Drouant restaurant after she received the French literary prize Prix Goncourt for her novel "Chanson douce" (Sweet Song), in Paris, France, November 3, 2016. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen

PARIS (Reuters) - President Emmanuel Macron on Monday named award-winning author Leila Slimani as France’s top emissary for promoting the use of the French language.

The appointment of the 36-year old Franco-Moroccan writer as emissary for Francophone affairs follows Macron’s decision to name a TV presenter and well-known ecologist as environment minister and an Olympic fencer as sports minister, opening up government to civil society.

Slimani was propelled into the limelight when she won the prestigious Prix Goncourt last year for her novel “Chanson Douce”, which translates as lullaby. This year, she published a book about sexuality in Morocco.

The Francophone affairs brief has in the past been a ministerial post or a junior minister position, and had often been occupied by career politicians.

Macron, whose upstart centrist party trounced France’s traditional political forces in an election earlier this year, has named a series of newcomers to his government.

Nicolas Hulot was appointed energy and environment minister, while Laura Flessel-Colovic, an Olympic gold medalist, is minister for sports.

Reporting by Sarah White, Marine Pennetier, Ingrid Melander; Editing by Richard Lough/Jeremy Gaunt

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