As literature lovers interested in contemporary writing from Africa, it’s already hard enough keeping up with all the exciting content coming out every month in English. What of the francophone scene? Here is a selection of news items you may have missed recently.
Benin’s 8th Plume Dorées Prize
Eva Natacha Fanou is the winner of the 2015 Plumes Dorées prize for her short story ‘La Tranchée’ (the trench). She is the first woman to receive this prize, which is awarded every year to a Beninois writer.
As part of Plumes Dorées, a short story anthology is being published, bearing the name of the winning story ‘La Tranchée’. It will also include the 9 shortlisted stories by Yves Biaou, Annette Bonou, Mylène Flicka, Mireille Gandebagni, Michel Henri Hlihe, Fiacre Kakpo, Jordy Hounhoui, Jovencio Kpehounsi, and Djamile Mama Gao.
Next year’s prize will be awarded to a novelist.
Aminata Sow Fall wins the Francophonie Prize
In June 2015, Aminata Sow Fall received the Grand Prix de la Francophonie for her literary work in French. With 10 novels to her name, the Senegalese author is no newcomer to the literary world. Her most famous novel “La grève des battu” (1979) was translated into English by Dorothy S. Blair as “The beggars’ strike”.
Francophone Manuscript Day coming up
On 24th October, UNESCO will host the 3rd edition of francophone manuscript day (#JDMF2015), during which hundreds of new writers will have their books published for free. 30 shortlisted manuscripts will be distributed commercially in partner bookshops.
Manuscript submissions are open until 30th September.
“Aminata Sow Fall” by may! from New York City – IMG_1159. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons.
Saraba’s latest issue is a special feature exploring literary festivals through the eyes of writers Magunga Willams, Tolu Daniel, Ciku Kimeria, Nyana Kakoma and Julie Muriuki.
Each contributor reflects on the festivals they have attended and the impact these events have had on their writing life.
Once again, I am excited to hear that the issue of language is being addressed in these forums. Moses Kilolo (Jalada) was quoted on his commitment towards connecting anglophone and francophone literary scenes in Africa:
“Networks also grow very fast during festivals. In the 2015 Writivism Festival for instance, we were able to further conversations regarding bridging the gap between Anglo and Francophone literature scenes in Africa. From that we have been able to reach out to writers, translators and other interested parties who are participating in the Jalada Language anthology. Next year we hope to have a Francophone anthology as well. We had been having such dialogues, but not until we met with Edwidge Dro at Writivism did it become so powerfully possible.”
To get a vicarious taste of Ake Festival, Storymoja Festival, Writivism and Hargeisa International Book Fair, you can download the magazine here.
If you’re following the African literary scene closely enough, you’ll definitely have heard of a number of book fairs and festivals being held across the continent, from Ake (Nigeria) to Cape Town to Nairobi.
But have you thought of looking up some off-the-beaten-path literary destinations where, on top of promoting your book, you can also brush up on your French? 2015 has been a year of rising interest in linking up the “anglophone” and “francophone” literary scenes and the time seems ripe to expand our horizons as readers and writers.
Here is a selection of festivals set to happen before the end of the year:
Salon international du livre d’Algers (SILA), 20th edition
October 27 – November 7, 2015
Algiers, Palais des expositions, Pins Maritimes
Foire internationale du livre à Ouagadougou (#FILO2015), 13th edition
November 26-29, 2015
FB : https://www.facebook.com/filo.burkina/timeline
Salon du livre de Brazzaville, 3rd edition
December 4-8, 2015
FB : https://www.facebook.com/events/415971891898041
Foire internationale du livre et du matériel didactique de Dakar (FILDAK), 15th edition
November 11-16, 2015
Dakar, Centre International du Commerce Extérieur in Yoff.
There are many more book fairs coming up in 2016, stay tuned 😉
Thank you to Ciku Kimeria for nudging me to write this post.
Any important events missing from the list? Feel free to add them in the comments.