An overview of the encounters

Tuesday 14th February

  • Faculté des Lettres et des Sciences humaines

09:30-10:30 African Anglophone literature

Encounter with great figures of the African Anglophone literature to discuss its formidable vitality – and its mutations.
With André BRINK, Dominic THOMAS, Teju COLE, Abdulrazak GURNAH

  • Institut français du Congo - Hall

Café Littéraire
In Saint-Malo, Haiti, Sarajevo or Bamako, Maette Chantrel has succeded to make the Café littéraire a warm and friendly place, giving a tour of the last books of each author. And the authors sign their books on the stands of the bookstore of Les Dépêches de Brazzaville on the same site.

15:00-16:00 With BEHR Mark, MABIALA BISSILA Julien, MIANO Léonora

16:15-17:15 With Lyonel TROUILLOT, Makenzy ORCEL, Niq MHLONGO, Paule CONSTANT

  • Palais des Congrès - Jardin

11:45-12:45 From Africa to America... and back ?

Anglophone or Francophone, they all live and teach in America – after all, who knows that there are there more courses on Francophone literatures than in France ? Then : how to assess their experience ? Did the American novel influence them ? How do they feel, returning home, while Africa is obviously back on track ?

With Emmanuel DONGALA, NoViolet BULAWAYO, Teju COLE, Souleymane Bachir DIAGNE, Dominic THOMAS

15:00-16:00 When great mythological powers arouse

The western novel, the French one at least, tried to ignore them. But they seem today to arouse in these great contemporary novels warning us of the surge of a new world –words and rhythm give a shape and a face to the unknown.
With Tarun Jit TEJPAL , Jean-Marie BLAS DE ROBLES, Frantz ZEPHIRIN, José Eduardo AGUALUSA

16:15-17:15 Between two worlds

They put words on the clash of cultures and the necessity to reconcile their multiple uprooting, at a time when it seems impossible to control the overwhelming flows of images, money, information and people. Through fiction, literature has the power to orchestrate these multiple voices looming around oneself, within oneself – isn’t this the definition of the novel ?

Friday 15th February

  • Institut français du Congo - Auditorium

18:00-19:00 African film-makers : a new wave
Africa is on the move, so is its cinema. In every corner of the continent a new generation of film and documentary makers arises, redefining the topics and esthetic of the African cinema. Authors of profound documentaries on the temptation of exile for young people, Rufin Mbou Mikima from Congo and Michel K. Zongo from Burkina will discuss this with Rama Tiaw and Alain Gomis from Senegal, who both try to capture the energy of today’s Dakar in their work.
With Rufin MBOU MIKIMA, Michel K. ZONGO, Rama THIAW, Bryan LITTLE

  • Institut français du Congo - Hall

Café Littéraire

In Saint-Malo, Haiti, Sarajevo or Bamako, Maette Chantrel has succeded to make the Café littéraire a warm and friendly place, giving a tour of the last books of each author. And the authors sign their books on the stands of the bookstore of Les Dépêches de Brazzaville on the same site.
11:00-12:00 With Lieve JORIS, Noo SARO-WIWA, Teju COLE, Boualem SANSAL

12:15-13:15 With Dominic THOMAS, Hélon HABILA, NoViolet BULAWAYO

Palais des Congrès - Jardin

  • 11:15-12:15 Writing in a world at war
    Angola, Congo, DRC : in this part of Africa, devastating conflicts have left painful marks in the recent collective memory. War... Endured at first hand or reflected from somebody else’s account, writers feel urged to testify to this ordeal, to understand it, to lay it on paper. But how do they transform the experience of war to use it as the fabric of their work ? Complex, terrible and yet fascinating because it plunges directly into the mystery of humanity, writers feel always concerned by war.
  • Palais des Congrès - Salle des conférences Internationales

18:00-19:30 Is there such a thing as a “national literature” ?

How many writers have been summoned to write for a cause, a clan, a class or a group ? Freeing the nation, affirming an identity – it would seem that a “national” literature is a necessity. But then what place is left for those poets who say, to quote Rimbaud : “I Is Someone Else” ? What about those who feel that every language is foreign, what kind of writers are they ?
Keynote Speaker : Alain MABANCKOU

Sunday 16th February

  • Institut français du Congo - Hall

Café Littéraire

In Saint-Malo, Haiti, Sarajevo or Bamako, Maette Chantrel has succeded to make the Café littéraire a warm and friendly place, giving a tour of the last books of each author. And the authors sign their books on the stands of the bookstore of Les Dépêches de Brazzaville on the same site.

16:00-17:15 With BLAS DE ROBLES Jean-Marie, LE MEN Yvon, José Eduardo AGUALUSA

  • Palais des Congrès - Grand auditorium

10:00-11:00 Women’s Perspectives

Women directors, they show us women at work, in their refusal and their rebellion ; or they film men’s bodies with audacity, in the masculine universe of wrestlers in Dakar. Women writers, they raise a loud voice, giving life to complex female characters full of humour and contradictions. These conquerors fight on the field of imagination, not only as feminists but above all as creators.
With Leïla KILANI, Rama THIAW, NoViolet BULAWAYO, MIANO Léonora

14:00-15:15 Crater cities

Monstrous, hybrid, sprawling, enormous and eruptive craters where traditions, family links, ethnic allegiances mix, shock and break : cities are the symbol of an Africa at birth. There, as an echo to exile to Europe or America, multiculturalism and interbreeding are at play and a “creole universe” is taking ground – the first stage of an “Afropolitan” modernity, to use the word of philosopher Achile Mmembé. Cities are laboratories for a street-culture, rap, slam, hip-hop, used by the youth to express their rebellion and hopes…
With Achille MBEMBE, Makenzy ORCEL, Niq MHLONGO, Noo SARO-WIWA, Teju COLE

  • Palais des Congrès - Jardin

10:00-11:00 South Africa, laboratory of the future ?

Everyone can feel the match South Africa is engaged in will have consequences for the entire continent. Four major writers from three generations discuss about it.
With Mark BEHR, André BRINK, Niq MHLONGO, Achille MBEMBE

11:15-12:15 Expressing the beauty of the world

They have in common an incandescent tongue, intense and poetic. In their different way, they all share the same desire to question our presence in the world, convinced that it is through imagination’s transforming power that novelists can best capture what is always escaping, fragile and evanescent : this thing commonly referred to as “reality”. To those raising questions about the matter, English writer Bruce Chatwin used to reply that he applied the narrative method of the novel to reality, so that reality’s novelistic dimension could appear. That is precisely what this will be all about.
With Teju COLE, Lyonel TROUILLOT, Hubert HADDAD

12:30-13:30 Living on the border

Instead of thinking of the border as a closed door and a protection against outside threats, could we imagine it as a meeting point ? The border is a sign that people once met, sometimes with violence and hatred, but that they could make sense out of their confrontation. To live on the border is to live in the fluctuation between the many worlds that constitute us, in the friction between languages and cultures. Today’s African, writes Leonora Miano, is a hybrid being who lives on the border.
With NoViolet BULAWAYO , Pia PETERSEN, Léonora MIANO

  • Palais des Congrès - Salle des conférences Internationales

11:00-13:00 Writers vs. censorship ?

Writers write feely, and are sometimes the first victims of censorship. Their role of outsider makes them particularly attentive to their surrounding world, but also very vulnerable. Censorship can be obvious and brutal, but also much more subtle and invisible. What is the nature of censorship today in the world, and how can we fight it, keeping in mind that one must be the first recipient of one’s own criticism and that some intellectuals aided and abetted all forms of totalitarianism throu- ghout the 20th century ?
Keanote Speaker : DONGALA Emmanuel

17:00-19:00 Should literature be political ?

Literature is never as alive as when it describes the world around us. But should it necessarily be political ? For a long time, and especially back in the 1960s, literature was compelled to voice some cause. But nowadays, we are more aware of the traps of commitment : literature can die, and become the mere servant of ideologies. So should it be always political ? Yes, but in a different way, in a way that transcends ideologies...
Keynote Speaker : Léonora Miano

Sunday 17th February

  • Institut français du Congo – Auditorium

11:00-12:00 Nigeria : A literary phenomenon

A land of cinema, Nigeria is also the birthplace of an impressive amount of renowned young writers on the world literary stage, most of them coming from Lagos. How to explain this incredible vitality ? Teju Cole and Noo Saro-Wiwa, whose debut works were acclaimed by Anglo-Saxon critics in 2012, will discuss the phenomenon with Hélon Habila, who was awarded the Caine Prize in 2001. Together, they will try to unveil the secret of the incredible Nigerian literary vigor.

14:00-15:15 Social commitment and resistance

Writers or directors, they use their work as a tool to denounce injustice, corruption and poverty – or to testify to the formidable energy of the youth that carries the future of the continent. As artists, thus lucid, they remember the old traps of artistic social commitment, when art was in the service of ideologies. But as artist, they also demonstrate how their works can be powerful reminders of the people’s capacity to resist.

  • Palais des Congrès - Jardin

12:15-13:15 The earth becomes round : towards a world without centre

We used to say “East-West relations”, “North-South dialogue”... We’ll probably have to change our lexicon. For our world becomes a multi-polar one, without a centre – and it’s not necessarily bad news. Africa has often thought about itself from its relation to the West. But wouldn’t it benefit from a dialogue with India or China – the reverse being also true ?
With Tarun Jit TEJPAL, Achille MBEMBE, Serge MICHEL

15:00-16:30 The new African novel

From multicultural New-York in the first decade of our millennium to today’s “Afropean” Paris, rising stars of the literary African diaspora have used mixed spaces and hybrid identities as a favorite theme. In Africa, others such as the “Kwaito generation” born in South African townships, prefer to write about the chaos and the richness of the new African megalopolis, where racial mix and multiculturalism are a constant experiment.

18:00-19:00 Black Paris

Besides New-York, Paris was in the years 1920-1930 the meeting point of what has been dubbed the “Harlem Renaissance”, when Sidney Bechet and Josephine Baker where acclaimed stars. Paris was also the place where an intense cultural vibrancy lead up to the founding of the pan-African quarterly magazine “Présence Africaine” and the first Convention of black writers in 1956. Today, Paris accommodates an “Afro-French” literature which is gaining international acclaim. Aren’t black diaspora a center piece of France’s opening up to the world and to its very modernity, asks Dominic Thomas in “Noirs d’Encre” ?
With André BRINK, Henri LOPES, Dominic THOMAS

  • Palais des Congrès - Salle des conférences Internationales

17:00-19:00 The future of novels

Are novels an obsolete medium in the era of the Internet, of digital media, of multimedia, an era where time is ever shorter ? Perhaps novels aren’t obsolete, for that very reason. If our world moves towards growing migration patterns (whe- ther the population wants or is forced to migrate), then everyone will have toexperience several cultures simultaneously, and will have to tell a personal story that holds these cultures together. This goes for increasingly mutating communi- ties too. After all, isn’t that what novels achieve ? A story, articulated in a specific context, with multiple characters, creating a new world ? If so, then on the contrary, we are entering the century of the novel.
Keynote Speaker : Hélon HABILA