Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Patrice Nganang

On Saturday, March 8th, in Mildred Sainer Auditorium, Patrice Nganang, will give a talk on the personal and collective politics of African writing: “The Library of Njoya: The Dream from which I Write”

The talk is free and open to the public; a reception will follow.

In addition, there will be two forums where students can meet and speak with Nganang:

First, an open session at the Four Winds on Friday March 7, from 3-5:30 for students who want to talk to Nganang—in English, French or German—about his work, African literature, graduate study in comparative literature, etc.

Second, a lunch & roundtable on Saturday March 8. Seating will be limited at this; if students want to attend, they need to contact Agne Milukaite or Marilee Pray ( for details.

More information about Nganang follows.


Patrice Nganang is a fascinating, powerful and provocative writer, academic & speaker. Originally from Cameroon (he left Cameroon in the wake of the protests in the early 1990s that came close to toppling the regime of Paul Biya), he holds a doctorate from the University of Frankfurt (Germany) and is currently on the faculty of SUNY Stonybrook (in comparative literature). He is a young and prolific author (he has published 3 novels to date, collections of poetry, short stories and novellas, as well as works of literary criticism on topics ranging from contemporary theater (a comparative study of Brecht and Soyinka) to African film. He has been awarded two prestigious French literary prizes, the Prix Marguerite Yourcenar in 2001 and the Grand Prix de la litt?rature de l’Afrique noire in 2002, both for his novel “Temps de chien” (which I translated as “Dog Days”).

His work is very political and inspiring. His fiction touches on issues ranging from the social manifestations of political oppression in Cameroon to the silenced history of the Bamileke genocide that followed Cameroon’s independence. Because he is most interested in creating a space for silenced voices to be heard, he weaves stories that are compelling, poignant and vibrant with humor. His essays are very political – whether challenging the passivity of African elites in the face of political violence or the self-important attitude of literary critics who judge African literature. This winter he traveled to The Hague to witness the trial of former Liberian president Charles Taylor.

Nganang will be on the New College campus for 3 days, holding discussions and roundtables with students, and capping off his visit with a public talk on Saturday.

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