New York (AP) – Maryse Condé, an acclaimed French-language novelist from Guadeloupe who in novels, stories, plays and memoirs imagined and redefined the personal and historical past from 17th century New England to contemporary Europe, has died at age 90.

Condé, winner in 2018 of an "alternate" Nobel Prize, died Monday night at a hospital in Apt, outside Marseille. Her longtime editor, Laurant Laffont, told The Associated Press that she had suffered from a neurological illness that impaired her vision to the point of having to dictate her final novel, "The Gospel According to the New World." But she still enjoyed a 90th birthday celebration, in February, when she was joined by family and friends.

"She was smiling, she was joyous," said Laffont, who otherwise remembered her as a woman of uncommon intensity and generosity. "It was a wonderful farewell, a truly great sendoff."

Condé, who lived in Luberon, France in recent years, was often called the "grande dame" of Caribbean literature. Influenced by Frantz Fanon, Aimé Césaire and other critics of colonialism, she was a world traveler who probed the conflicts between and within Western culture, African culture and Caribbean culture, and the tensions between the desire for liberation and what the author would call "the trap of terrorism and simplistic radicalisation."

With her husband, Richard Philcox, often serving as her English-language translator, Condé wrote dozens of books, ranging from historical explorations such as "Segu," her best known novel, to the autobiographical stories in "Tales from the Heart" to fresh takes on Western literature. She reworked "Wuthering Heights" into "Windward Heights," and paired a West Indian slave with Hester Prynne of "The Scarlet Letter" in "I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem."

"A historian is somebody who studies the facts, the historical facts –somebody who is tied to what actually happens," she explained in an interview included in the back section of "I, Tituba," published in 1992. "I am just a dreamer – my dreams rest upon a historical basis. Being a Black person, having a certain past, having a certain history behind me, I want to explore that realm and of course do it with imagination and my intuition. But I am not involved in any kind of scholarly research."

The mother of four children (with first husband Mamadou Condé), she was nearly 40 when she published her first novel and almost 50 when "Segu" made her an international name. "Segu," released in French in 1984 and in the United States three years later, was set in an 18th century African kingdom and followed the fates of a royal advisor and his family as their community is upended by the rise of Islam and the expansion of the slave trading industry.

"In the past all a man needed was a bit of willpower to keep wives, children, and younger brothers in order," observes one family member. "Life was a straight line drawn from the womb of a woman to the womb of the earth … But now the menace of new ideas and values lurked everywhere."

She continued the story in "The Children of Segu," but rejected additional volumes, explaining to one interviewer that her spirit "had journeyed to another world." Over the following decades, her fictional settings included Salem, Massachusetts ("I, Tituba"), Jamaica ("Nanna-Ya") and Paris and Guadeloupe for "The Wondrous and Tragic Life of Ivan and Ilana."