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Biography of Yambo OUOLOGUEM

Mali > Literature : Yambo OUOLOGUEM

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Born on 22/08/1940 (format : day/month/year)

Biography :

Yambo Ouologuem (B. in  August 22, 1940), is a Malian writer and the first African to receive the French Prix Renaudot in 1968.

"Ouologuem, from a vantage point uniquely his own, reveals a world in which white

colonialism is preceded by black and Arab colonialism, In his endeavor

to demystify African history, he is kin to Frantz Fanon"

Yambo Ouologuem -- Born 1940 in Bandiagara in the Dogon country French Sudan (now Mali), the only son of a landowner and school inspector. He learned several African languages and became fluent in French, English, and Spanish. After matriculating at a Lycée in Bamako (Mali), Yambo went to France in 1960 to continue his education there at Lycée Henry IV and from 1964 50 1966 taught at the Lycée de Clarenton in Paris and then continued his studies for a doctorate in scoiology.
He wrote the controversial Le Devoir de violence (1968; translated in English as Bound to Violence in 1971). The book initially was widely received and well-reviewed. After winning the prestigious French literary prize, Yambo received much media attention: appeared on NBC's Today Show; interviewed and written about in many prominent publications. Then the bottom dropped out with charges of plagiarism. from Graham Greene's thriller It's a Battlefield (1934), set in London. Greene had spent a year in West Africa during the World War II and wrote The Heart of the Matter (1948), which was partly based on his experiences and people he met there. For legal reasons the English publisher of Ouologuem's work was obliged to acknowledge the "use of certain passages" from Greene. ".
After Bound to Violence Ouologuem published Lettre ouverte à la France-nègre, a satirical pamphlet, which criticized paternalistic French liberals and was addressed to General de Gaulle. His other works include Les Milles et un bibles du sexe (1969), described as "frankly pornographic" and published under the pseudonym Utto Rodolph. Several of Ouologuem's poems have appeared in
Nouvelle somme.

Ouologuem turned away from the Western press as a result of the matter, and even today remains reclusive. His legacy is explored in a contemporary light in Yambo Ouologuem: Postcolonial Writer, Islamic Militant, a recent anthology edited by Christopher Wise that includes an account of Wise's own attempt to find Ouologuem in Africa.
Yambo Ouologuem currently lives in Mopti, Mali. In the late 1970s he returned to his home country and worked until 1984 as a director of a youth center near Mopti.

Selected works:

Le Devoir de violence, 1968 - Bound to Violence (trans. by Ralph Manheim)
Lettre à la France nègre, 1969
Les Milles et un bibles du sexe, 1969 (published under the Utto Rodolph)
Terres du Soleil, 1971 (with others)

Last update : 01/16/2016

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