From Andreï Makine to Atiq Rahimi and Agota Kristof, French literature has many authors of foreign origin. These authors have decided to adopt the French language as their writing language. Some have learned the language because of their country’s colonial past. Others master the language of Molière because of a forced exile for political reasons. If the artists mentioned are well known by the public, others suffer from a lack of recognition. Let’s discover these great French authors who are little or not known in France.
Anna Moï : a Vietnamese novelist
Anna Moï is a writer of Vietnamese origin born in Saigon in 1955. The author comes from a wealthy family since her mother is a teacher while her father is an officer. The latter wrote a few articles for a local press.
She began her schooling in a French-speaking school because of the country’s colonial past. After graduating from high school, Anna Moï decided to move to Paris to continue her studies in history at Nanterre.
In the 1990s, she returned to Saigon and began writing articles in the language of Molière. These articles deal mainly with Vietnamese culture. She then went on to write novels.
In an interview, she states that the choice of French is justified by the constraints imposed by her native language. It would be difficult to write a novel in Vietnamese since the subjects “you” and “you” do not exist.
Milan Kundera: a political activist of Czech origin
Kundera is a writer of Czech origin from a family where culture and art predominate. He studied film and literature. He then began to publish his writings in Czech.
However, he decided to adopt French as his writing language as a sign of protest. Indeed, he was totally against the Warsaw Pact. Opponents are censored in Czechoslovakia.
He then decided to leave his native country and to write definitively in French as a sign of rupture. His best-known works are L’insoutenable and L’immortalité. He published his first novel in 1995 with La lenteur.
Ahmadou Kourouma: an Ivorian writer
Ahmadou Kourouma was born in 1927. Of Ivorian origin, the writer is distinguished by his first work in French Les Soleils des indépendences. The book depicts with a critical eye the governments that run his country after colonization. This work made him one of the greatest African writers of his time.
Throughout his life, Ahmadou Kourouma took a critical look at post-colonial Africa, with its anarchy, corruption, tyranny and poverty. His third novel, in French, En attendant le vote des bêtes sauvages, bears witness to his convictions.
In 2000, he received the Renaudot Prize for his book, Allah n’est pas obligé. The novel tells the story of an orphan who later becomes a soldier.
Kateb Yacine: an Algerian writer
Kateb Yacine is a writer in French language born in Constantine. The Algerian is very politically involved in the Communist Party. His work Nedjma is a classic of Algerian literature.
His works are distinguished by the raw description of violence and rupture. After his death in 1989, the author joined the program of the Comédie française.
Assia Djebar is a French author born in Cherchell. We owe him several essays and plays. However, the writer is known thanks to her projects in the cinema. Her works put forward the violence and the emancipation of women in Algeria.
She is an important figure in Maghrebian literature. In 2005, the French Academy awarded her numerous prizes for her works such as Les enfants du Nouveau Monde and Nulle part dans la maison de mon père.
Aminata Sow Fall
Aminata Sow Fall is a Senegalese writer known in the African Francophone literature. Her works focus mainly on patriarchal ideology and hypocrisy in Senegalese society.
She received the Grand Prix littéraire d’Afrique Noire for her novel La Grève des battus ou les déchets humains.