Maboula Soumahoro


Segu: Africana is the Name

My year as a fellow at the Columbia Institute for Ideas and Imagination will be devoted to writing a series script based on French Guadeloupean writer Maryse Condé’s novel Segu (Robert Laffont, 1984; Penguin,1987). In the hope of approaching and ideally matching, or at least doing justice to the immensity of Condé’s magnum opus, this adaptation project requires finding a delicate balance that rests on a combination of academic, artistic, and translation skills. To fully and comfortably devote my time to translating Maryse Condé’s seminal novel Segu in a series script also means democratizing an invaluable piece of modern literature, that is to say, making it accessible to a greater number of people. This series will be an offering coming from the African Diaspora and addressed to the world.

Maboula Soumahoro is an associate professor in the English Department of the University of Tours. She is the 2022-2023 Mellon Arts Project International Visiting Professor of African American and African Diaspora Studies at Columbia University and Visiting Faculty at Bennington College. A specialist in the field of Africana Studies, Dr. Soumahoro has conducted research and taught in several universities and prisons in the United States and France. Widely published within and without academia, she is the author of Le Triangle et l’Hexagone, réflexions sur une identité noire (La Découverte, 2021), translated into English by Kaiama L. Glover as Black Is the Journey, Africana the Name (Polity, 2021). This book received the FetKann! Maryse Condé literary prize in 2020.

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