* La même page en français *
Malian literature at a glance
A few reference books
To find out more on Mali
As the historian Adame Konaré Ba explains, the arrival of the French in Mali is very recent considering the very long history of this country. It only dates back to the second half of the 19th century, a period marked by the fall of Ségou, the repression of numerous resistance movements and the downfall of the great Moslem chiefs, such as El Hadj Omar and Samori, two figures symbolic of Moslem resistance against the Christian influence in Africa. A few texts in French can be attributed to French explorers and military of that time, but strictly speaking, literature written in French only dates from 1950, the year that Amadou Hampaté Bâ, one of the best known authors in Mali, published his Peuhle poetry. During the same period, Ibrahima Mamadou Ouane published several works, as did Fily Dabo Sissoko in the form of poetry, Malinké proverbs translated into French, and one of the very first novels, La Passion de Djimé (1955).
Among the talented authors who made their mark during the 1960s, two deserve special mention: Yambo Ouologuem, who received the Renaudot Prize in 1969, and Seydou Badian. The following decade is marked by the theatre of Gaoussou Diawara and the publication of the first volume of Massa Makan Diabaté's trilogy. In the early 1980s the first works of Ibrahima Ly, Modibo Keita, Moussa Konaté and Doumbi-Fakoly were published.
Despite a relative scarcity of literature written by women from Mali, it does however include one of the most important literary works of the region: Aoua Kéita's autobibilography that represents a mine of information on women's political action, as well as the female condition during the colonial period. In 1994 Aïcha Fofana wrote an interesting novel entitled Mariage, on copie and in 2002 Aïda Mady Diallo produced an equally gripping tale, Kouthy, mémoire de sang published in Gallimard's Série Noire. Fanta-Taga Tembley's novel Dakan (destiny) was published the same year. Also worth mentioning are challenging essays by former Malian Minister Aminata Traoré, a novel by Fatoumata Fathy Sidibé (2006) and many publications by Adame Ba Konaré - the wife of Mali's ex President - especially her volume Ces mots que je partage: Discours d'une Première Dame d'Afrique (published by the Editions Jamana) in which she presents 46 of the speeches she delivered between 1992 and 1998.
Please note: Authors' cultural heritage and identity extend beyond their association to a specific location [see Angèle Bassolé Ouédraogo's réflexions autobiographiques and Achille Mbembe "Afropolitanisme" Africultures 66 (2006), pp.9-15.].
Adame BA KONARE
Aïda Mady DIALLO
Oumou Cheick DIARRA
Fatoumata Fathy SIDIBE
- Le Potvin, Sébastien. "La parole littéraire en quête de reconnaissance et d'autonomie. L'absence des femmes maliennes". In Figures et configurations de l'activité littéraire au Mali, Clio en Afrique, no 13 automne 2004. (Consulté le 26 août 2007).
This article was published in 2006 by L'Harmattan under the title Lettres maliennes.
- "Littérature malienne" Notre Librairie 75-76 (1989), 252p.
- Adam Konaré Ba. "Panorama historique", Notre Librairie75-76 (1989), pp. 15-29.
- Rouch, Alain et Gérard Clavreuil. "Mali" dans Littératures nationales d'écriture française: Histoire et anthologie. Paris: Bordas, 1986, pp. 275-302
- Adam Konaré Ba. Dictionnaire des femmes célèbres du Mali des temps mytico-légendaires au 26 mars 1991. Bamako: Jamana, 1993, 520 p.
- La Geste de Ségou racontée par les griots bambara. Paris: Armand Colin, 1971. Edition bilingue, traduite en français et éditée par Gérard Dumestre.
- Kesteloot, Lilyan. L'Epopée bambara de Ségou. Paris: L'Harmattan, 1993. 2 v. Avec la collaboration de Amadou Traoré, Jean-Baptiste Traoré et Amadou Hampâté Bâ. Reprend en partie des épisodes de L'Epopée bambara publiées chez A. Colin, 1975 et Nathan, 1972.
- Cissé, Youssouf Tata et Wâ Kamissoko. Soundjata: la gloire du Mali. Paris: Karthala; Arsan, 1991. Fait suite à La Grande geste du Mali transmise par Wâ Kamissoko.
- Liana Nissim, Marco Modenesi, Silvia Riva. L'incanto del fiume, il
tormento della savana. Storia della letteratura del Mali. Rome: Editions Bulzoni, 1993. Histoire de la littérature malienne.
[Version Française de cette page]
["Mots Pluriels" Short story by Belco Diallo]
The University of Western Australia/French
Created: 05 June 1996
Modified: 26 Aug 2007
Archived: 25 Oct 2008