The Aquatic Ones

Original title: Les aquatiques

Author: Lewat, Osvalde

Publication Date:

August 2021



Original language and publisher

French | Les Escales

Territories Handled

Worldwide excl. French

Territories Sold

Germany (InterKontinental)
Japan (Kodansha)
English (UK & BC excl Can) (Cassava Republic)
English (North America) (Coffee House Press)
Brazil (Faria e Silva/Grupo Alta Books)


Debut Novel, Literary Fiction

Number of copies sold:



  • Prix Kourouma (winner)
  • Grand Prix panafricain de littérature (winner)
  • Prix du rayonnement de la langue et de la littérature françaises décerné par l'académie française (winner)
  • Prix des 5 continents de la francophonie (shortlisted)
  • Prix des Afriques 2022 (shortlisted)

Foreign Covers


The Aquatic Ones

Original title: Les aquatiques

Author: Lewat, Osvalde


Magnificent! — Atiq Rahimi, Goncourt Prize winner for his novel SYNGUE SABOUR

An ode to intimate revolutions. — Madame Figaro

Osvalde Lewat’s visual writing captures the heroine’s dilemma, follows her thoughts and gestures, as if in close-up. — Le Monde

Osvalde Lewat enters literature with this first novel of remarkable vivacity. — Le Point

A modern tragedy where; everything sounds true. — Le Soir

An entry into literature that aims at the heart. — Page des Libraires

A very beautiful and good novel full of healthy anger. — ARTE “28 Minutes

Osvalde Lewat made a name for herself as a filmmaker through documentaries, but Les Aquatiques is her first novel. It is hard to believe, as this book is mastered. Everything rings true, the tone, the style, the life details, the many characters, all complex even when cartoonish.
Michel Zink, de l’Académie Française / Le Figaro Littéraire

A powerful debut novel by Osvalde Lewat, a renowned documentary film-maker. A striking story leading to a new vision of the French-speaking African societies today. Les Aquatiques is set in a fictional African country and tells the coming of age story of Katme.

She is a woman in her early forties, married to a local politician whose life will be turned upside down when her husband’s political ambitions collide with her personal life: Her best friend, Samy, an artist whom she subsidizes is gay and will be thrown in jail because of her and her husband.

The consequences will be devastating for Samy and for Katme. Les Aquatiques is a universal story because it tells how this woman has to reinvent herself and how she will face up to the challenges life offers her. The writing is brutally honest, cynical, it also manages to be laugh out loud funny as well as totally heartbreaking. It is also a picture of modern-day Africa, the struggles for a more just society.

Marketing Information

  • English sample available

Foreign Covers