African Literature Book Club – 14th March

Glass cabinet

We are happy to introduce Small Country” by Gaël Faye (originally written in French as: Petit Pays) as our text for discussion in the forthcoming book club meeting to be held on the 14th of March, 2020.

Gabriel turns 33 at the beginning (or perhaps, the end) of the story.  An immigrant in Paris, on his 33rd birthday, he recalls how often he is asked: ‘where are you from?’ by women he meets on dating sites.  This existential question preludes the story in the novel. Gabriel takes a trip down memory lane to his 11-year-old self – a middle class son of a Rwandan mother and French father, never quite fitting in.  An innocent and perhaps spoilt child of a marriage on the brink of crisis, Gabriel tells us about his childhood, stealing mangoes in the city of Bujumbara, as the events of the most devasting carnage of the genocide unfolds.  At the time Gabriel experiences this heartbreaking conflict, he is still 11 years old but no longer a child.

Set in Burundi-Rwanda and exploring themes of hate, identity, childhood, loss and memory, Faye’s Small Country is pure poetry and will touch you deeply.  The author, Gaël Faye, is a Rwandan-French rapper and poet based in Paris.  This is his debut novel – it has been well received and was the winner of the 2016 Prix de Goncourt de Lycéens.

The novel is less than 200 pages long and in big print.  We hope that you can read the text (it is absolutely rewarding) and we look forward to hosting you at the Centre of African Studies Library and listening to your wonderful contributions during the book discussion.

Please join us 15:00-16:30(ish) on Saturday 14th March, on the third floor of the Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road.

Please sign up via our Eventbrite page:

Or do get in touch with Jenni Skinner for more information:

eBook on iDiscover:

Purchase a copy:

Print copies at the University:

After this, we will read Mia Couto’s “A River Called Time” at our first meeting after the Easter break, scheduled for May 9th, 2020.

Diekara Oloruntoba-Oju – current MPhil in African Studies student, and organiser.

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