Senegalese novelist Aminata Sow Fall speaks during an interview in her office in Dakar, Senegal Monday, April 3, 2006.
Like the best fables, her
novels are universal - compelling, deceptively simple explorations not just of what sustains Africans amid poverty, wars and despots, but of what makes any of us human. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
Senegalese novelist Aminata Sow Fall's prose is unadorned, as if she
were recounting a fable.And like the best fables, her
novels are universal -- compelling, deceptively simple explorations not just of what sustains Africans amid poverty, wars and despots, but of what makes any of us human.
In 30 years, seven novels and a long meditation on food and culture, the moral of her
fables has been that man can and must resist the forces of the modern world that conspire to strip him of his
latest novel, 2005's "Festins de la Detresse," or "Feasts of Anguish," she
argues that imagination is the indispensable weapon in the battle to remain fully human.
"Imagination allows us to create a world in which human dignity is sacred.It is a source of hope, of sustenance for human beings," the Sorbonne-educated Fall said in an interview.She
was not suggesting that people retreat to imaginary worlds, but that they draw on their dreams and hopes to give them strength to act.
"All great works begin in the imagination," she
said in her
book-cluttered Dakar office, shades drawn against a sun already fierce though it was barely spring.
And like Mahfouz in Egypt, Fall
has struck a chord with people of all classes in her
homeland, where her
books are popular. She
also has a following abroad, where she
is best known for one of her
early novels, 1979's "La Greve des Battus," which appeared in English as "The Beggars' Strike".
...Fall, 65, was born into a prominent family in Saint-Louis, the former French colonial capital of Senegal.She
studied at the Sorbonne and returned to teach French, publishing her
first novel only after establishing herself as an academic. Her
work in translation has found a worldwide audience and she
has traveled extensively, often as a visiting professor at U.S. universities
novels are staples of women's studies and African literature curricula.
In addition to novels, she
writes essays and lectures.In recent years she
own publishing house.
considers herself a novelist first.
...Reading Women Writers and African Literature: Aminata Sow Fall Senegalese writer and educationalist
Senegal: Learn more about this West African nationMY HERO: AMINATA SOW FALL by SENE from Dakar