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James S. Coleman Memorial Lecture: Oral Tradition, Religious Syncretism and Politics: The Example of Cote d'Ivoire

A discussion with writer, academic, artist and author of books for young people, Véronique Tadjo.

Véronique Tadjo is a writer, academic, artist and author of books for young people. Born in Paris, she grew up in Abidjan (Côte d´Ivoire) where she attended local schools. She earned a B.A. in English from the University of Abidjan and a doctorate from the Sorbonne, Paris IV, in African American Literature and Civilization. In 1983, she went to Howard University in Washington, D.C. on a Fulbright research scholarship.

In 1979, Tadjo chose to teach English at the Lycée Moderne de Korhogo (secondary school) in the North of Côte d´Ivoire. She subsequently became a lecturer at the English department of the University of Abidjan until 1993 when she took up writing full time. She has traveled extensively in Africa and Europe and is currently based in South Africa. In 2007 she became the Head of French Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

Some of her titles available in English translation include: As the Crow Flies (Penguin Books SA, 2009), The Shadow of Imana, travels to the heart of Rwanda (Heinemann, 2002); Red Earth/Laterite, (Poems – Eastern Washington University Press, 2006) and The Blind Kingdom (Ayebia Clarke, 2008). In 2005, she was awarded Le Grand Prix d’Afrique Noire for her novel, Reine Pokou, translated as Queen Pokou (Ayebia Clarke, 2009).

She has written and illustrated several books for young people, among which Mamy Wata and the Monster, The Lucky Grain of Corn and Grandma Nana which have come out into eight dual language editions. Her most recent titles are, Nelson Mandela, non à l’ apartheid! (Actes Sud Junior, 2010) and Loin de mon père (Actes Sud, 2010).

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