Biography

Aminata Sow Fall is a Senegalese novelist, one of the earliest and best-known Francophone African women writers. She was born in 1941 in Saint-Louis, attended secondary school in Dakar, and studied in France before moving back to Senegal to work as a teacher. Subsequently she worked for the Commission for Educational Reform, responsible for the introduction of African literature into the French syllabus in Senegal, and is currently head of the Centre d’Animation et d’Échanges Culturels in Dakar and of the publishing house she founded in 1990, Éditions Khoudia.

Sow Fall’s writing comments on facets of contemporary Senegalese social behaviour and attitudes, for example her debut Le Revenant (1976) critiqued the new bourgeoisie, and her second novel, La Grève des Battu (1979), which won the Grand Prix Littéraire d’Afrique Noire and was short-listed for the Prix Goncourt, is set in the early 1970s when Senghor’s World-Bank inspired tourist campaign had resulted in a series of decrees and brutal police action against Dakar’s beggars. Her third novel, L’Appel des arènes (1982) was also on the Goncourt short-list and won the Alioune Diop Prize, and in 1997 Sow Fall was awarded Doctor Honoris Causa by Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts. Festins de la détresse (2005) was her most recent novel, until her return in 2017 with L’Empire du mensonge.

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  • Read an interview with La Monde Afrique here.

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