From "Francographe" African Writer to Wolophone Storyteller: The History and Evolution of the Senegalese Novel in Wolof

Boubacar Boris Diop
Wed April 14th 2021, 12:00 - 1:00pm

Senegal has a long tradition of poetry in Wolofal, which is the Wolof language—the most widely spoken in Senegal—written in a modified Arabic script. By comparison, fictional writing in Wolof using a Latin script developed much more recently and is quickly becoming the flesh and blood of a new Senegalese literary expression. In a country that for decades boasted to be the birthplace of francophone African literature, it is striking to note that an increasing number of Wolof novels are published in Senegal each year. 

This development, as rapid as it is unexpected, deserves analysis. Celebrated novelist Boubacar Boris Diop has witnessed this history being written, in both senses of the term. In this talk, Boubacar Boris Diop will revisit his own Wolof novels, Doomi Golo and Bàmmeelu Kocc Barma, to narrate from within what it means to move from the status of an African "francographe writer" to that of a wolophone storyteller. 


Speaker Bio

Boubacar Boris Diop is a novelist, journalist, and screenwriter. Diop’s latest published novel, written in Wolof, is Bàmmeelu Kocc Barma (A Grave for Kocc Barma) (2017). His previous novels include Murambi: The Book of Bones (2000), Doomi Golo (2003), and Kaveena (2006). He has worked as a reporter for several newspapers in Africa and Europe, and he is the author of dozens of essays, plays, and screenplays.