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Women and literature today in West Africa

by archyde

Published on : 24/09/2022 – 14:30

On the occasion of the meeting “Women and literature today in West Africa”, which was held at the French Institute of Ouagadougou, report in Burkina Faso with five writers: Roukiata Ouedraogo, who initiated the ‘event ; Monique Ilboudo; Bernadette Sanou Dao; Burkinabe; Mahoua S. Bakayoko, Ivorian and Laurence Gavron, Franco-Senegalese.

Poster of the literary meeting in Ouagadougou © Stephane Eliard

Roukiata Ouedraogo has lived for 20 years in France, the country where most of her career as an author, actress and radio columnist has taken place. But she has always been keen to come and present her shows to the Burkinabè public. Despite the technical or economic difficulties that she must then overcome, it is a duty for her to maintain active contact with a loyal and warm public. With already four “alone on stage” to her credit (Yennenga, l’Épopée des mossis, Ouagadougou Pressé, Roukiata falls the mask and I ask for the road) Roukiata Ouedraogo wanted to explore other areas of creation, literature in particular or comic. This is how, in 2020, she published her first novel, Honey under the Galettes at Slatkine et Cie (reissued in 2022 at Pocket). In 2021, she publishes her first short story, Of war and loveat Rageot and, the same year appeared his first comic strip, Ouagadougou in a hurry (adaptation of the eponymous show) at Sarbacane. She is currently working on two other literary projects.

Monique Ilboudo is a Burkinabé writer, politician and diplomat. Author of several books including skin pain, for which she received the Burkina Faso Grand Prix, Monique Ilboudo also participated with other important African writers in a reflection on the genocide in Rwanda, as part of a writing residency in Kigali. Experience which subsequently gave rise to the publication of the novel Murekatete. Monique Ilboudo’s work is rooted in the social issues of Burkina Faso and, in particular, the status of women. A feminist activist, she founded Qui-vive, the observatory of the status of Burkinabè women. Her career is too rich to be summarized quickly, she was, among other things, a university professor, secretary of state then minister, ambassador…

Bernadette Sanou was a teacher and pedagogue, she taught at the Burkina Pedagogical Institute for the production of school textbooks and the training of teachers. She participated in the edition of textbooks. Her concern for transmission has led her to publish books for children. But she is also a poet whose collections have won awards (Jean Cocteau Prize for Quote-part and Symphonies. Bernadette Sanou was the country’s First Minister of Culture, a post created at the time by Thomas Sankara.

Mahoua S. Bakayoko, after literary studies at the University of Abidjan in Modern Letters, today Félix Houphouët Boigny University. Mahoua S.Bakayoko follows her diplomat husband to the different countries where his successive transfers lead him. These stays far from his country led him to discover certain social realities such as illegal immigration and the tragedies it engenders. This pushes her to take up the pen. She has published ten titles to date. Her experience as an author faced with the difficulties of the publishing world in Africa led her to found her own publishing house, the Barrow house.

Laurence Gavron. In 1977, she defended a master’s thesis in Modern Literature, option Cinema, at the University of Paris 3, entitled Aspects of the theme of wandering in American cinema. She began by writing about cinema in various newspapers and magazines, then worked for television, in particular as an assistant, then journalist and director on “Cinéma, Cinémas”, “Etoiles et Toiles”, “Métropolis”, “Absolu- ment Cinema”, “After the release”, etc. She is the author of a book, written in collaboration with Denis Lenoir, on John Cassavetes (1986), from the novel String marabouts (2000) and crime novels Boy Dakar (2008), Wintering (2009) et Fouta Street (Le Masque, 2017), winner of the adventure novel prize. She has also published numerous articles or film reviews in various periodicals, including Positif, Cahiers du cinema, Liberation and Le Monde, and has made numerous documentary and fiction films. She has lived in Dakar since 2002, and acquired Senegalese nationality in 2008.

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