Boubacar Boris Diop is an award-winning author and one of
today’s most prominent African novelists, short fiction writers,
playwrights, and essayists.
Diop was the former editor-in-chief for Le Matin, an independent daily Senegalese newspaper, and after having collaborated for years with the Zurich-based daily Neue Zürcher Zeitung
and the Italian weekly Internazionale, he is currently columnist at the London magazine The New African and the Senegalese Seneplus.
Diop has been a visiting professor at the American University of
Gaston Berger University in Saint-Louis, the ETH University Zurich, and
Rutgers University, where he has held seminars about Senegalese
literature in Wolof, novel-writing and remembrance,
translating between languages, and Afropessimism. He has been a guest
speaker at Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Brown, Macalester, Brandeis,
and a recipient of the Harold and Ethel L. Stellfox Visiting Scholars
and Writers Program Award at Dickinson College in 2018.
His most recent work, Bàmeelu Kocc Barma (2017) written in Wolof, was published by Ejo Editions. After Kaveena (2016) and The Knight and His Shadow (2015) translated from French,
Michigan University Press released Doomi Golo, the Hidden Notebooks, the English version of his Wolof novel. His most celebrated novel Murambi, the Book of Bones
(2006), originally published in French in 2000,
is a fictional story inspired by Diop’s stay in Kigali, Rwanda, in
1998. In the years following the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi,
he and eight other Francophone African authors were invited by the
literary festival “Fest’Africa” to take up residence at a writer’s house
in Kigali to participate in the Duty of Memory Project.
Deeply influenced by what he had learned of the genocide against the
Tutsi of Rwanda, Diop’s novel blended the voices of genocide victims
with those of the perpetrators. Murambi,
The Book of Bones has since been listed by the Zimbabwe
International Book Fair’s Africa’s 100 Best Books of the 20th Century
and has been nominated for the 2022 Neustadt International Prize for
Diop has won several awards for his extensive works in French, including the Senegalese Republic Grand Prize in 1990 for Les Tambours de la mémoire, the Prix Tropiques for Le Cavalier et son ombre
Beyond his writing in French, however, Diop is also passionate about
promoting literatures in Wolof. Now available in English and in Spanish,
Doomi Golo, was originally published in Wolof in Dakar in 2003
and translated six years later by himself into French. It has been republished in 2019 by Ejo Editions.
Boubacar Boris Diop has created, at the Editions Zulma in Paris,
Céytu, a literary collection named after Cheikh Anta Diop’s birthplace.
In collaboration with Laure Leroy, the Director of Éditions Zulma,
and Rodney Saint-Eloi, the Director of Mémoire d’Encrier in Montreal,
Céytu aims to publish literary masterpieces from all languages and all
cultures into Wolof with the first series of translated works
by authors such as Mariama Bâ, Aimé Césaire, JMG Le Clézio, and
released in March 2016. He has himself translated into Wolof Aimé
Césaire’s A Season in the Congo.
In 2016 Boubacar Boris Diop founded Ejo Editions, a publishing house
specialized in literature written in Senegalese national languages.
Since 2016, Ejo Editions has published novels,
poetry and historical essays representing a turning point in the rise
of a Senegalese national literature in African languages. As part of
this historical event, Diop and Ejo Editions founded Lu defu waxu,
the first and only online weekly newspaper in Wolof. Additionally,
with a group of scholars, educators and cultural activists, Diop
developed an online language school
offering courses in Wolof to professors and students from the Cheikh
Anta Diop Foundation, the Institut Fondamental d’Afrique Noire, the
School of Librarians, Archivistes, and Documentalists,
as well as journalists.
Diop is currently working on his third novel in Wolof.