Event: West African Literature and Thought in French: Translating Cultures, 22 January 2016, London

West African Literature and Thought in French: Translating Cultures


Friday 22 January 2016, 10.30-17.00, British Library Conference Centre



aquotesSome of the most important contemporary writing in French has emerged from West Africa. This event brings together authors (leading writer from the Côte d’Ivoire, Véronique Tadjo), publishers, translators and other specialists to explore topics including the history of the Francophone West African book as well as the complex processes of translation between oral and literary cultures, and across various other linguistic, historical and political contexts.

Full programme below, and details of registration here: http://www.bl.uk/events/west-african-literature-and-thought-in-french-translating-cultures


The event is organized in the context of the British Library exhibition ‘West Africa: Word, Symbol, Song’. The exhibition is open from 9.30, and those who intend to visit it in advance of the seminar may book tickets separately: http://www.bl.uk/events/west-africa-word-symbol-song



10.30-11.00: Registration. Tea/ Coffee


11.00-11.10: Welcome: Janet Zmroczek (Head of European and Americas Collections, British Library)


11.10-12.00 Opening Panel:  West Africa at the British Library

Marion Wallace (British Library), Overview of the British Library’s current major exhibition ‘West Africa: Word, Symbol, Song’


Jody Butterworth (British Library), Introduction to the Endangered Archives Programmes based in Francophone West Africa


12.00-12.50 Panel 2: Introducing West African literature and culture (Chair: Patrick Corcoran)


David Murphy (University of Stirling), ‘Négritude and the rest? A brief history of West African Literature in French’

Chérif Keita (Carleton College), ‘The Sunjata  Fasa (The Epic of Sundiata) as the Matrix of Mande Personhood’


LUNCH: 12.50-13.45 (sandwich lunch provided)


13.45- 14.45 Round table: Translation and reception (Chair: Charlotte Baker)

With Kathryn Batchelor (University of Nottingham), Georgina Collins (University of Glasgow), Michael Syrotinski, (University of Glasgow), Wangui Wa Goro (SIDENSI)


14.45- 15. 45 Round table: Publishing translated fiction in the UK (Chair: Ruth Bush)

With Becky Nana Ayebia Clarke (Ayebia Clarke Publishing), Suzanne Diop (Présence Africaine Editions), Samantha Schnee (Words without Borders), Audrey Small (University of Sheffield)


15.45-16.00: Tea/Coffee


16.00-17.00: Véronique Tadjo : a reading and a conversation with Nicki Hitchcott (University of Nottingham)


Event organised in partnership with the AHRC ‘translating cultures’ theme and the Society for French Studies, with the support of the Institut français.


Organisers: Charles Forsdick (University of Liverpool/AHRC); Teresa Vernon (British Library); Ruth Bush (University of Bristol)


The seminar is followed by an evening performance by acclaimed Malian band Trio Da Kali, who will be performing from their own repertoire, before accompanying Chérif Keita’s recitation of the Epic of Sundiata. Please note that separate tickets are required for this event


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3 replies

  1. While I was reading the posting, my memory pounce on professor O R Dathorne’s book “African Literature In The Twentieth Century” (London, Heinman 1975) on what he portrays at the end of the chapter discuss at length on “Prose And Poetry In French”. It goes like this “African literature in French demonstrates the possibility of a European language giving the a blood transfusion. The works move from slavish imitation of French writing and culture to writing that draw heavily on the African past”


  1. Translating cultures: African perspectives |

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