Alain Mabanckou  [ Congo, France ]


Guest 2002, 2013.


Demain j’aurai vingt ans


Paris, 2010

Black Bazar


München, 2010

[Ü: Andreas Münzner]

Le sanglot de l’Homme noir

Edition Fayard

Paris, 2012

Zerbrochenes Glas


München, 2013

[Ü: Holger Fock u. Sabine Müller]

Lumières de Pointe-Noire


Paris, 2013

Alain Mabanckou was born in 1966 in Pointe Noire in the Congo. He studied Law in Brazzaville and in Paris. In addition to being a writer, he teaches at the French Department of the University of California, Los Angeles. He is one of the most successful young African writers in the French language.

Mabanckou achieved his breakthrough with the novel »Bleu-Blanc-Rouge« (1998; tr: Blue-White-Red) for which he received the »Grand Prix Littéraire de l’Afrique Noire«. It is a story of two Africans, whose hopes are shattered as they encounter the reality of living in France – the land of their dreams. Massala-Massala, an archetypal anti-hero, ardently believes in the concepts of equality and brotherhood, as well as the idea that education will lead to social advancement. Yet, once in France, he has to realize that diplomas and certificates mean little in the harsh environment of Paris’s streets. Yet, from a distance, everything had appeared colourful – blue-white-red. The novel is a poignant satire and emphasizes that Francophone Africa, despite independence, still follows its former colonial masters. His literary work focuses on the troubled relationship between France and its former African colonies. While his first poetry volume »Au jour, le jour« (1993; tr: Today, the Day) is, in his own words, too attached to the classic French metric, Mabanckou finds his own tone in »La Légende de l’errance « (1995; tr: The Legend of the Wandering), which is a lyrical reflection on the death of his mother. In »Les arbres aussi versent des larmes« (1997; tr: Trees also Shed Tears) he examines the loss of traditional values. In »Quand le coq annoncera l’aube d’un autre jour« (1999; tr: When the rooster announces the dawn of another day), he writes about the war which is destroying his country. This poetry volume is simultaneously a declaration of love and a song of mourning. A similar theme also characterizes his novel »Les Petit-Fils nègres de Vercingétorix« (2002; tr: The Negro Grandsons of Vercinetrorix). In 2006, the author was awarded the Prix Renaudot, the Prix Aliénor d’Aquitaine and the Prix de la rentrée littéraire française for his novel »Mémoires de porc-épic« (2006; Eng. »Memoirs of a Porcupine«, 2011). A German translation of his latest novel »Tais-Toi et Meurs« (2012; tr: Shut Up and Die) will be published soon.

He is he co-director of the literary festival Etonnants Voyageurs in Brazzaville. Mabanckou, who has lived in Paris for 20 years and whose books all appear in French, nevertheless sees himself as an African writer: »I see myself as a writer, but a writer who has not forgotten that he is an African.« The author divides his time between Paris and Los Angeles.


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