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Caribbean Writer Maryse Conde to Visit University of Virginia

March 2, 2011 — Caribbean writer Maryse Condé will give a public talk, "Journey of a Caribbean Woman Writer," during a two-day visit to the University of Virginia. She will speak about her life and literary experiences in the Caribbean, France, Africa and the U.S. as they resonate in historical, cultural and intellectual contexts and visit with students in the College of Arts & Sciences' Department of French Language and Literature.

Her talk, about finding a voice, is broken into four parts: "Black Skin White Masks," "Borrowing the Voice of the Griot," "What to Choose: Creole or French" and "Writing in Maryse Condé."

Condé will speak in the auditorium of the Mary and David Harrison Institute for American History, Literature and Culture/Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library March 16 at 4 p.m. Her talk, which will be in English, will be followed by a book signing.

Condé was born in the French-speaking Caribbean island of Guadeloupe. She is the author of 18 novels, as well as plays, children's books, essays about Francophone women writers and oral literatures in Martinique and Guadeloupe, and articles about Caribbean literature and cultural studies. Her novels include "Ségou" (1984), "I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem" (1986) "Crossing the Mangrove" (1989) and "Victoire: my mother's mother" (2006). Condé's works are translated from French to English by her husband, Richard Philcox.

Educated at the Sorbonne in Paris, where she studied English, Condé has taught Caribbean literature at the University of California, Berkley; University of Maryland; Harvard; and University of Virginia, from 1992 to 1994. She is professor emerita of French at Columbia University in New York City.

During her visit to U.Va., Condé also will meet with students in a Caribbean seminar and other students studying French. That gathering will be conducted in French.

Condé's talk is part of the Virginia Festival of the Book. Other sponsors of her visit are the College of Arts & Sciences, Department of French Language and Literature, the Vice Provost for Faculty Recruitment and Retention, Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies, Office for Diversity and Equity and Studies in Women and Gender Program.

For information, contact Stéphanie Bérard at 434-243-1121 or sberard@virginia.edu.

— By Jane Ford

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