Loading Events

« All Events

Hybrid Hybrid Event
  • This event has passed.

(Hybrid) Emmanuel Dongala: Scribe of Social Reality

Wed 20 September 2023 @ 19 h 30 - 20 h 30

Hybrid Hybrid Event

A major voice in African literature makes a special appearance at the American Library to discuss writing the story of resistance.

Emmanuel Dongala, “the most accomplished novelist from Africa since Chinua Achebe,” will make a special appearance at the Library to discuss the new English edition of The Stone Breakers: A Classic Novel of Labor Resistance. The novel tells the story of a feminist uprising among a group of workers in a gravel pit: what begins as a village protest escalates to a state-wide rebellion that confronts the corrupt leadership and challenges the status quo set by the government and the mining corporations. It has been adapted to the stage in Africa, Europe and South America, and, originally published by Actes Sud as Photo de groupe au bord du fleuve, was named the best French novel of 2010 by Lire. Dongala will appear in conversation with Will Mountain Cox, author of With Paris in Mind and the forthcoming debut novel, Roundabout.

Learn more:

The 2023 winner of the Grand Prix Hervé Deluen from L’Académie française, awarded for contributing to the promotion of French as an international language, Dongala is described by Alain Mabanckou as “a key figure of French-language African literature… a scribe of social reality… his universe combines realism, meeting African and African-American cultures… and features memorable characters in search of freedom, equality and justice in the face of a decadent world.”

Dongala studied in the United States in 1961, and later returned to the U.S. in 1997, fleeing the Congolese Civil War, with the assistance of Philip Roth and William Styron. 

Terry Gross named Dongala “One of [Republic of the Congo’s] best known novelists,” praising his bold ability to “criticize, even mock, the corruption in his country’s government.” Listen to his appearance on Fresh Air

A film adaptation of Dongala’s celebrated book Johnny Mad Dog premiered at Cannes Film Festival in 2008. Read about it in the New York Times.

About the speakers:

Born in the Republic of Congo in 1941, Emmanuel Dongala is a scientist and author who came to the United States in 1997 during the civil war in his native country and was offered a professorship at Bard College. He was a Guggenheim Fellow in Fiction in 1999. Dongala is the author most recently of the acclaimed novel The Bridgetower Sonata, as well as Johnny Mad Dog, Little Boys Come from the Stars, and The Fire of Origins. He is the recipient of the 2011 Prix Ahmadou Kourouma Award and his most recent novel The Bridgetower Sonata was shortlisted for the Prix Albertine in 2022. This novel is currently under option to French film director David Lanzmann for a limited series. 

Will Mountain Cox is the author of With Paris in Mind. His writing has been published in Forever Magazine, Hobart, Spectra Poets, The Drunken Canal and Vol.1 Brooklyn. In 2013, Will co-founded the Belleville Park Pages. He holds degrees from Boston University and from Sciences Po in Paris, where he was named Graduate of Honor.

Important information: The discussion will be available both online and in person. While the conversation will happen in person (Dongala and Cox will appear in the Reading Room), the Library will stream the conversation on Zoom for a live viewing experience. Both in-person and online attendees will be able to pose questions.

Attendance at this event constitutes permission for your photograph or video to be taken at the event and used by the American Library in Paris for marketing, promotional, pedagogical, or other purposes.

Evenings with an Author are free and open to the public (with a 10€ suggested donation)
thanks to the generous support of Gregory Annenberg Weingarten of GRoW @ Annenberg.


Wed 20 September 2023
19 h 30 min - 20 h 30 min
Event Categories:
(Hybrid) Emmanuel Dongala: Scribe of Social Reality
We take your privacy and the protection of your personal data very seriously. This website is GDPR compliant, uses only essential cookies that are necessary to function, and does not use cookies that collect or store data about you or your device. By using this website, you agree to our Data Protection Policy.