Great African Reads discussion

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Archived | French Noms 2019 > African lit in French in 2019?

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message 1: by Wim, French Readings (last edited Dec 07, 2018 03:17AM) (new)

Wim | 726 comments Mod
Our first group read in French is a success, so we definitely want to continue next year!
Just wondering how you think we can best pick books throughout the year. I think one book every two months is a good rhythm.
Should we for a start follow the regions of the regional group reads, focusing on the Francophone authors in each of them? Or pick 6 countries or topics that might be of interest?
Please share your ideas!


message 2: by Laura (new)

Laura | 270 comments Wim I think you're absolutely right. One every two months is a really good pace as it also means more people can contribute and we can share each others views, which have been very insightful for me. I would love to go by regions or authors, new ones and old ones.


message 3: by Sanne (new)

Sanne (sanneennas) | 18 comments I also agree with a bimonthly schedule. That way everyone has some time to get their hands on the book we're reading.
I think going by region is neat, though perhaps 6 topics/genres would be interesting as well.
I think authors is an interesting way to go as well, especially if it's a mix of newer and older ones. Though I'm wondering whether we'll run into trouble with sources books by older authors? I'm not that familiar with sourcing Francophone African lit, but for me the Anglophone lit can be difficult to track down when it's out of print.

Whatever we choose, we're bound to have a very diverse set of books the coming year, which is what I'm looking for :)


message 4: by Valerie (new)

Valerie (valroos) | 285 comments Thanks Wim for taking this forward. I enjoyed our group's first read and look forward to many more. I agree with keeping to a bimonthly schedule.

Going by region is fine by me. I am wondering though whether we might run into some challenges finding francophone books for southern or eastern africa? Focusing on topics/genres would also be fun. Or alternating between region and topics/genres.


message 5: by Wim, French Readings (last edited Dec 11, 2018 03:06AM) (new)

Wim | 726 comments Mod
Thanks for your input!

You are right Valerie, francophone books for some of the regions will be hard to find. We could than alternate between regions and topics/genres as you propose.

So we could go for:
- Jan/Feb: Central Africa (we'll have to start the nominations soon, authors from following countries are eligible: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Republic of the Congo)
- Mar/Apr: no Frenchspeaking countries in Southern Africa, so we should come up with a topic, genre or author... all suggestions are welcome!
- May/Jun: Eastern Africa, just some smaller countries eligible (Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mayotte, Réunion, and partly Rwanda).
- Jul/Aug: Northern Africa, with following francophone countries: Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia.

Western Africa is still missing, we could do that in Nov/Dec and choose another topic/genre for Sep/Oct?


message 6: by Letitia (new)

Letitia Mason | 10 comments Des pailles dans le sable is based in Dar es Salaam, written in French, even the things people say in English are translated into French. It is a great insight into real lives in Dar.


message 7: by Valerie (new)

Valerie (valroos) | 285 comments The schedule you propose Wim looks good to me. I will have a think about topics/genre and look forward to reading other people's suggestions.

Thanks for pointing out the book set in Dar es Salaam, which looks interesting. There are for sure books written in French which are placed in eastern (and maybe) southern Africa if we also include non-African authors. I am not sure what the view is on this - do we only focus on African writers or can we also include books set in Africa but written by non-African authors?


message 8: by Sanne (new)

Sanne (sanneennas) | 18 comments That schedule looks good! As for ideas for the empty slots:
- Go for countries or regions for which it's difficult to find English translations. For example, I've been eyeing Barzakh by Mauritanian author Moussa Ould Ebnou ever since reading this review. I'm sure there are plenty more books that are available in French translation which are not available in English...
- If it's not too out of the comfort zone for this group: graphic novels. I'd love to discover some new African BD authors and artists. I'm only familiar with Marguerite Abouet and Barly Baruti but I'm sure there are more out there.


message 9: by Laura (new)

Laura | 270 comments Hi Wim. Thanks for the suggestions. I think the schedule looks great. For the Jan Feb time I'd like to read more by In Koli Jean Bofane, also new authors such as Moussa in Chad. Re March/Apr I think we should do West Africa twice as so many authors from that region. Valerie I would prefer to read African authors wherever possible, although of course they can be based abroad. However I can see that it might not always be easy to get their books, so would opt for pragmatism. I'm loving this group!!


message 10: by Wim, French Readings (new)

Wim | 726 comments Mod
Thanks for your reactions. I'll set up a thread for the Jan/Feb nominations.

There is no strict policy about excluding books based in Africa by non-African authors (so it could be an option), though personally I prefer reading books by African authors.

For the more creative categories (Mar/Apr and Sep/Oct), we already have the following ideas:
- Translations to French that are hard to find in English
- West Africa twice (we could also split the region in two?)
- Graphic novels (also rather unknown by myself)

Keep your suggestions coming and share what you think about these ideas.


message 11: by Valerie (new)

Valerie (valroos) | 285 comments I like the suggestions made so far - I am definitely open to the idea of widening the book selections up to other types of books like graphic novels. In the same line, I would be interested to also read more non-fiction book by African scholars and thinkers. Though these might be a bit harder to source sometimes.


message 12: by Jamila (new)

Jamila | 14 comments I'll try to participate when I can, but I'm also wondering if we're up for responding in French/asking for translation help too? French is not my native language, but I've done extensive work on it, and conversing in French (while I would not want to prohibit others from participating) is helpful for me when the source material I've read is also in French


message 13: by Laura (new)

Laura | 270 comments I think we should leave options open to write either in English or French. Reading and writing are two different skills and not everyone is up to or wants to respond in French


message 14: by Wim, French Readings (new)

Wim | 726 comments Mod
Exactly, you are free to react in French or English. As we're reading in French, we suppose that all participants will be able to understand comments written in French.


message 15: by Wim, French Readings (new)

Wim | 726 comments Mod
It's the last day of voting for the Jan/Feb poll: you can still cast your vote here.


message 16: by Wim, French Readings (new)

Wim | 726 comments Mod
Thinking about what we'll read in Mar/Apr, as more creative category, I'd like to suggest the following:
- Graphic novel: I checked a bit online and it appears that most BD on Africa in French are not written by Africans...
- (Auto-)biographies?
- Non-fiction?
- Translation of books in African languages to French? I must say I can't come up with many examples... except maybe from North Africa?
- Take West-Africa as many authors are from that region?

Share your thoughts about what you'd like to read!


message 17: by Wim, French Readings (new)

Wim | 726 comments Mod
A collection of short stories is also an option.


message 18: by Cam (new)

Cam | 95 comments Marguerite Abouet' Aya and Akissi series are the most famous graphic novels from West Africa, but maybe most people have read them already. They're both great and should be relatively easy to find? Joann Sfar's The rabbi's cat is set in colonial Algeria and although the author is French it's probably (the first few albums at least) one of the least orientalist graphic novel I've come across. In later ones Sfar gets a bit preachy.

I'm a bit stuck for participation as I'm currently in an environment where the libraries don't have many books in French and my budget is extremely limited. I'm happy with the other categories if I can find the books, although I agree that translation from African languages are hard to come by.


message 19: by Wim, French Readings (new)

Wim | 726 comments Mod
Cam wrote: "Marguerite Abouet' Aya and Akissi series are the most famous graphic novels from West Africa, but maybe most people have read them already. They're both great and should be relatively easy to find?..."

You are right Cam. Aya de Yopougon volume 1 and Akissi (Tome 1) - Attaques de chats are the only ones I could come up with too. If many have not read them yet, should we give it a try? I read Aya, but it was a long time ago and would not mind read it again.


message 20: by Wim, French Readings (new)

Wim | 726 comments Mod
This is the right link to the original French version of Aya. I think I only read this first volume.


message 21: by Wim, French Readings (new)

Wim | 726 comments Mod
I just saw that Aya was a group read in 2012: here is the thread.


message 22: by Valerie (new)

Valerie (valroos) | 285 comments I would be up for a graphic novel (I haven't read any so far) or for non-fiction. Another option for the creative category (whether for this one or future ones) would be that we chose a novel based on a theme. So for instance, choosing a novel about war, about going on a travel, about family relationships, etc etc


message 23: by Wim, French Readings (new)

Wim | 726 comments Mod
Thanks for your suggestions Valerie.
I just set up a graphic novel nomination thread for Mar/Apr.
We'll discuss later what to do in Sep/Oct.


message 24: by Wim, French Readings (new)

Wim | 726 comments Mod
As inspiration for future group reads in French: here are the finalists of the new Orange Prize for African fiction in French published in Africa (4 of them were not yet on goodreads, I just added them):

Après délibérations des comités de lecture, la liste des six finalistes de la 1ère édition du Prix Orange du Livre en Afrique est connue :

Djaïli Amadou Amal, Munyal, les larmes de la patience, Editions Proximité (Cameroun)

Khalil Diallo, A l’orée du trépas, Harmattan Sénégal (Sénégal)

Youssouf Amine Elalamy, Même pas la mort, Editions le Fennec (Maroc)

Pierre Kouassi Kangannou, La rue 171, Eburnie (Côte d’Ivoire)

Salima Louafa, Chairs d'argile, Afrique Orient (Maroc)

Yamen Manai, L'amas ardent, Editions Elyzad (Tunisie)

Les six auteurs finalistes seront invités à Paris dans le cadre du Salon du livre et pourront présenter leur livre lors d’une conférence de presse prévue le vendredi 15 mars 2019 avec Christine Albanel, Présidente Déléguée de la Fondation Orange.

Le Jury final désignera un lauréat parmi les six finalistes, qui se verra décerner le Prix le 23 mai prochain à Yaoundé au Cameroun. Il recevra une dotation de 10.000 euros et bénéficiera d’une campagne de promotion de son ouvrage.

L’Agence Culturelle Africaine, dirigée par Aminata Diop Johnson, accompagne la Fondation Orange dans l’organisation de ce Prix. Le Prix Orange du Livre en Afrique bénéficie du soutien institutionnel de l’Institut Français, de l’Unesco, de l’OIF et de l’AFD et du soutien logistique de DHL.


message 25: by Valerie (new)

Valerie (valroos) | 285 comments Thanks Wim for sending us the info about the new Orange Prize for African fiction. I hadn't heard of any of the books nominated, so I am excited about checking some of them out. At first glance, Yamen Manai, Salima Louafa and Djaïli Amadou Amal's books appeal to me the most. It would be great if we could integrate some of these books in our group reads in some way.


message 26: by Laura (new)

Laura | 270 comments I agree with Valerie. Exciting list actually. All of them inspiring. I'd quite like to read something from Morocco as I don't think I have read many books from Moroccan authors.


message 27: by Orgeluse (new)

Orgeluse | 405 comments Hello everybody!
While reseaching for my Random African Travel Challenge here in this group I stumbled across some literature by contemporary writers that could be of interest for this group:

Déception noire ? Le nègre est souriant
This is a poetry collection by a poet from the Central African Republic.

Then, I came across two female writers from Congo (Brazzaville):
Adèle Caby-Livannah:
Cissé Diallo et les écrans de la discorde
She also wrote: De l'Alsace à l'Afrique: le voyage de Chona

The second female writer is a poet and playwright:
Marie-Leontine Tsibinda: La porcelaine de Chine (a play)


message 28: by Wim, French Readings (new)

Wim | 726 comments Mod
Thanks for these interesting suggestions Orgeluse!


message 29: by Valerie (new)

Valerie (valroos) | 285 comments Orgeluse wrote: "Hello everybody!
While reseaching for my Random African Travel Challenge here in this group I stumbled across some literature by contemporary writers that could be of interest for this group:

[boo..."


Thanks for these suggestions Orgeluse - I hadn't heard of these books so I look forward to exploring them more.


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