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Biography of Aminata SOW FALL

Senegal > Arts : Aminata SOW FALL

Aminata SOW FALL
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Born on 27/04/1941 (format : day/month/year)

Biography :

Aminata Sow Fall (b. April 27, 1941) is a Senegalese writer.

Sow Fall, Aminata was  born April  27,1941. One of the earliest and best-known francophone African woman writers, author of four novels. Written from the point of view of the concerned citizen rather than the feminist, her work provides a running commentary on contemporary Senegalese social behaviour and attitudes.

Le Revenant (1976) is a critique of the new bourgeoisie, and their anxiety to impress others with their ill-won wealth. Her second novel, La Grève des Bàttu (1979), winner of the Grand Prix Littéraire d'Afrique Noire and short-listed for the Prix Goncourt, is her best-known and most impressive work to date. Set in the early 1970s, at a time when Senghor's World-Bank inspired tourist campaign had resulted in a series of decrees and brutal police action against Dakar's beggars, this semi-fantasy about a retaliatory strike-action by the beggars is an indictment of Senghor's ‘humanism’ and at the same time a witty dig at the power-hungry politicians who surround him.

In Sow Fall's third novel, L'Appel des arènes (1982), which also featured on the Goncourt short-list and was awarded the Alioune Diop Prize, the theme of cultural alienation comes full circle. In contrast to the protagonists of her compatriots Socé, Sadji, and Kane, who are psychologically destroyed by the superficial appeal of Western culture, Sow Fall's young hero, only child of highly westernized parents, is drawn back to his roots by the sound of the drums from the traditional wrestling arena. L'Ex -Père de la nation (1987), Sow Fall's latest novel, is a variant on the resignation-of-the-president theme instituted by Sembène's Le Dernier de l'empire in 1981.

Sow Fall writes in a simple, accessible style: her aim, she says, is to provide people with a mirror to enable them to see and correct their shortcomings. A civil servant and educationist, she was a member of the Commission for Educational Reform responsible for the introduction of African literature into the French syllabus in Senegal. She has a good sense of the relationship between literature and ‘market forces’, and of the importance of promoting the literary product. She is head of the Centre d'Animation et d'Échanges Culturels in Dakar, and her publishing-house, Éditions Khoudia, was opened in 1990.

In 1997, Aminata Sow Fall was awarded  Doctor Honoris Causa by Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley , Massachussetts.

Last update : 03/27/2009

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