Writing at the Crossroads of New African Literature : Mohamed MBougar Sarr
On Wednesday. October 25, at 6pm, join us as we welcome Senegalese novelist, Mohamed Mbougar Sarr, for a conversation on his latest novel, The Most Secret Memory of Men (translated by Lara Vergnaud, Other Press), winner of the 2020 Prix Goncourt.
A literary mystery in the same vein as Bolaño’s Savage Detectives, The Most Secret Memories of Men is also a coming-of-age novel that unravels the fascinating life of a maligned Black author, based on the true story and mysterious life of Yambo Ouologuem.
In 2018, Diégane Latyr Faye, a young Senegalese writer in Paris, discovers a legendary book from the 1930s, The Labyrinth of Inhumanity. No one knows what became of its author, once hailed as the “Black Rimbaud,” after the book caused a scandal. Enthralled by this mystery, Diégane decides to search for T.C. Elimane, going down a path that will force him to confront the great tragedies of history, from colonialism to the Holocaust. From Senegal to Argentina to France, will he get to the truth at the center of the maze?
The Most Secret Memory of Men is an astonishing novel about the choice between living and writing, and the desire to transcend the divide between Africa and the West. Above all, it is an ode to literature and its timelessness. Mohamed Mbougar Sarr is the first Sub-Saharan African winner of France’s top literary prize, the Goncourt.
MOHAMED MBOUGAR SARR was born in Dakar in 1990. He studied literature and philosophy at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. Brotherhood, his first novel, won the Grand Prix du Roman Métis, the Prix Ahmadou Kourouma, and the French Voices Grand Prize. The president of Senegal named him a Chevalier of the National Order of Merit. The Most Secret Memory of Men won the 2021 Goncourt Prize.