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Biography of Sami TCHAK

Togo > Literature : Sami TCHAK

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Biography :

Sami Tchak (born in 1960) Sami Tchak, whose real name is Sadamba Tcha-Koura is a Togolese writer.

Sami Tchak was born in Togo in 1960. He studied philosophy and taught it at a high school in Togo for three years. He arrived in France in 1988 and began work on a PhD in Sociology at the Universities of Paris X Nanterre and Paris V - Sorbonne. Also in 1988 the Nouvelles Editions Africaines in Lomé  published his first novel, "Femme Infidèle ," under his real name. After completing his PhD in 1993, he focused his research on female sexuality and related women's issues in Africa, sexual behaviours and the AIDS crisis on the African continent, amongst others, publishing a number of sociological studies, including an essay "Formation d'une élite  paysanne au Burkina Faso "- "Formation of a peasant elite in Burkina Faso". Tchak also published "L'Afrique à l'épreuve du sida "(Africa confronted by AIDS) in 2000. He then resumed writing fiction under the assumed name Sami Tchak and started to publish with Gallimard, as part as the Continents Noirs (Black Continents) collection. Informed by his insights into social and sexual behaviour, his novels demonstrate how emotions and desires, particularly suppressed feelings influence public and political life. His third novel "La fête  des masques," is a satire of political and domestic life in an impoverished, presumably African country, only identified as "Ce Qui Nous Sert de Pays,"which is ruled by a dictator. Critics have identified references to androgyny, homosexuality and sadomachism in the novel from Proust, Gide and 1980s pop icon, Boy George. In 2004, Sami Tchak won the Grand Prix of Black African Literature for the entire range of his work. The prize is awarded to a writer for the quality of literary production related to political and social issues in Africa.

Ahmadou Kourouma Prize of 5000 Swiss francs was awarded on 3 May  2007 at the African Book Fair in Geneva to Sami Tchak for his eye-opening novel "Le paradis des chiots" (Puppy Paradise).published in 2006.

 In Le paradis des chiots, the reader is catapulted into the reality of Colombian street children and their lives as mangy strays, which Sami Tchak describes with words that deal a blow, bleed, stink and leap at ones throat. This is a "paradise" that is wide open to hell. The city vomits its children, who sell their bodies and souls in a present with no future, where the candour of youth and extreme violence embrace each other to the point of suffocation. The truth that Sami Tchak delivers without pathos is a multi-voiced song that reaches us from a hallucinated realm, from a reversed otherworld.

His novels have been translated into Spanish, German and Italian.

Last update : 07/25/2007

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