Senegalese novelist, screenwriter, journalist Boubacar Boris Diop visits SU for readings, lectures and screenings
Senegalese novelist, screenwriter, journalist Boubacar Boris Diop visits SU for readings, lectures and screeningsMarch 28, 2006Carol K. Masiclatclkim@syr.edu
Internationally renowned Senegalese novelist, journalist and screenwriter Boubacar Boris Diop, will visit Syracuse University for a special series of readings, lectures, screenings and discussions April 4-7. Diop’s visit to the SU community coincides with the 12th anniversary of the catastrophic genocide in Rwanda.
Diop is regarded as one of the most influential writers and public scholars in both Senegal and around the world. The author of prize-winning novels and screenplays, Diop founded “Le Sud,” the first independent newspaper in Senegal, and secured a unique place in African literary history with the publication of “Doomi Golo” (2003), his first novel, written in Wolof, the primary language of Senegal.
“With great imagination and integrity, Boris Diop pushes the boundaries and definitions of African world literatures,” says Janis Mayes, professor of African American Studies. “Diop is a creative intellectual, an activist rooted in history and community.”
He is perhaps best known for his highly-acclaimed novel on the Rwandan genocide, “Murambi: le livre des ossements” (2000). The book was nominated by a jury to the Zimbabwe International Book Fair’s list of Africa’s 100 Best Books of the 20th Century. The English translation, “Murambi: The Book of Bones,” was published by Indiana University Press March 15. Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison wrote of the book: “The novel is a miracle.? ‘Murambi’ verifies my conviction that art alone can handle the consequences of human destruction and translate these consequences into meaning. Boris Diop, with a difficult beauty, has managed it. Powerfully.”
In essays and public scholarship, Diop has shaped compelling debates about issues of French racism, African immigration, genocide, neocolonialism and the complexities and complications of African intellectuals and writers everywhere. “Negrophobie” (2005), a collection of essays by Diop, Odile Tobner and Francois-Xavier Verschave was a best selling publication that sparked nationwide debate in France that year. Diop, and his most recent novel “Kaveena” (2006), will be featured at the Paris Book Fair in March. His prize-winning film script, “Ndeysaan: Le Prix du Pardon” (The Price of Forgiveness) is but one of Diop’s accomplishments in African cinema.
“A world-class novelist, journalist and all-round public intellectual, Mr. Diop participates in what some of us call African Cinema of Liberation at the often unseen level of screenwriting–in brilliant partnerships with the continent’s most amazing filmmakers,” says Greg Thomas, assistant professor of rhetoric in the department of English. “His writing of film is absolutely magical on the screen, encouraging us to go places only the most phenomenal imaginations have gone before in Pan-African traditions of art, literature and politics. Again and again, you get to know one of his works and are thrilled to explore all the rest of them; and he is unbelievably prolific!”
Amy Wyngaard, associate professor of French and coordinator of the French Program, has organized this series of events, working in collaboration with Mayes and Thomas to foster cross-departmental engagement. “Boris Diop’s works engage many of the issues we have been discussing on our campus, including the role of the arts in our society and the necessity for writers and intellectuals to be engaged with their local and global communities,” says Wyngaard. “He is a writer of remarkable courage and sensitivity who demonstrates the power and relevance of literature today. You cannot read ‘Murambi’ and not be changed.”
The featured events include:
Tuesday, April 4 A Reading and Conversation: “Call the Monsters by Their Name””Murambi: The Book of Bones” and the Rwandan genocide12:30-2:30 p.m., 219 Sims Hall. Paid parking is available in the Comstock lot.
Wednesday, April 5 Public lecture: “Being An African Francophone Writer Today” (Etre Un Ecrivain Africain Francophone Aujourd’hui) Signed copies of “Murambi: The Book of Bones” will be offered to Syracuse city high school libraries. In support of the Syracuse University and Syracuse City School District Partnership for Better Education initiated by Chancellor Nancy Cantor, Syracuse city high school students, teachers, parents and administrators are invited to attend. The book signing will follow the lecture. 4-6 p.m., 500 Hall of Languages. Paid parking is available in the Comstock lot or Irving garage.
Thursday, April 6 Syracuse International Film Festival Forum on Politics and Economics (Part 2)1-4 p.m., 341 Eggers Moynihan Institute Seminar Room. Paid parking is available in Irving garage.
Screening and Discussion: “Ndeysaan: Le Prix du Pardon” (The Price of Forgiveness) 5-7 p.m., Heroy Auditorium, Geology Building. Paid parking is available in the Irving garage.
Friday, April 7 Panel on Journalism2-3:30 p.m., Newhouse School of Public Communications, Newhouse 1, A1. Paid parking is available in the University Avenue garage or Marion lot on Waverly Avenue.
Diop’s visit is sponsored by the French Program and the Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics in The College of Arts and Sciences at SU. The visit is co-sponsored by the Office of the Chancellor; The College of Arts and Sciences; the Newhouse School of Public Communications; the departments of African American studies, anthropology and English; the SU Writing Program; the Center for European Studies; the Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs; the Syracuse International Film Festival; the Division of Student Affairs; the Syracuse University and Syracuse City School District Partnership for Better Education initiative; and the Office of Undergraduate Studies. All events are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Wyngaard at firstname.lastname@example.org, Thomas at email@example.com or Mayes at firstname.lastname@example.org.