Lecture by Maryse Condé
Novelist and scholar, Professor Emerita, Columbia University

Africa in Antillean Writing
Date:  Friday, March 21, 2008                     
10:00-11:00 a.m.               
Location: 939 GCB Troy Moore Library

Event Notes

Maryse Condé (born Maryse Boucolon) was born, 11 February 1937, in Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe. She studied at the université de Paris III, Sorbonne, graduating docteur ès lettres  in comparative literature in 1976. Her research was on Black stereotypes in West Indian literature ("Stéréotypes du noir dans la littérature antillaise"). Early in her literary career, Condé tried her hand at dramatic writing. (She continued to write for the theater, her latest play, An tan revolisyon , appearing in 1989.) She took to the novel in the mid-seventies, producing Hérémakhonon (1976), followed a few years later by une Saison à Rihata (1981). It was not until her third and major novel, Ségou: Les Murailles de terre (1984), that Condé established her position among notable contemporary writers and "réussi[t] à franchir les barrières--inaccessibles jusqu'alors aux auteurs caribéens ou africains de langue française--du succès commercial" (Notre Librairie  82 [janvier-mars 1986]: 121). Ségou: La Terre en miettes, part II of this great African saga, was published the following year. Soon after, both parts became available in pocketbook format. More recent novels by Condé have earned her literary prizes: Moi, Tituba, sorcière noire de Salem (1986) was awarded the grand prix de la Femme 1986; la Vie scélérate (1987) received the highly coveted prix de l'Académie française 1988 (bronze medal).
        Beside creative writing and erudition, Condé is a woman of wide reading and considerable insight into contemporary social issues which permeate her activities as critic, public lecturer, and teacher. Her criticism, includes monographic studies, anthologies, and articles in West African and Caribbean literatures. She is, by Jonathan Swift's maxim, a true critic, not a pretender, "[...] une critique attentive qui ne s'embarrasse pas de faux-semblant pour dire son sentiment sur un écrivain ou sur un livre, si dérangeant soit-il pour l'intéressé ou en contradiction avec les autres critiques" (Notre Librairie).

        Her public speaking mirrors the social and political consciousness which she expresses with admirable art in her novels. There were her visits to Niamey (Niger), Mona (Jamaica), Paris, Vienna, Amsterdam and Leiden (Holland), Nottingham (England), Austin (TX), San Francisco, and other places where she surveyed such topics as "The Black Woman Writer and the Diaspora," "Politics and West Indian Literature," "The Woman Writer in the Caribbean," and "Pan-Africanism." And there were numerous cultural or teaching engagements: at Lycée Charles de Gaulle in Saint Louis, Sénégal; at Radio France internationale and at the BBC, where she was program producer; at various divisions of the université de Paris--Jussieu, Nanterre, and Sorbonne, where she was chargé de cours (1980-1985); at California Institute of Technology; at the University of Virginia; and at the University of California, Berkeley, where she became tenured professor in January 1990.

Additional Event Notes

This event is sponsored by The Center for Latin American and Latino/a Studies at Georgia State University.

Admission to this event is free and open to the public.

For more information, please contact Dr. Rudyard Alcocer at ralcocer(at) gsu.edu