Although the French language has been present in Ivory Coast as far back as the 1880s, the first real piece of French literature by an Ivorian writer was not published until 1936.
For nearly forty years, the literary scene was dominated by male writers. The year 1975 marked the introduction of women’s writing in the country, with the publication of La marche des femmes sur Grand Bassam by Henriette Diabaté.
By the 1980s, other women in Ivory Coast were beginning to publish novels, short stories, poetry, and autobiographies, with a total of 15 books by women writers being published between 1975 and 1985. The number of books increased by the mid-1990s, with 22 books being published by women writers in Ivory Coast between 1986 and 1995 (according to a report by Assamala Amoi, an Ivory Coast author and former Vice President of the Writers‘ Association of Ivory Coast).
Today, women writers still constitute the minority; although the exact number of female authors is unknown, only about 44% of the population of Ivory Coast is literate (according to a survey taken by the Ministry of Education in 1996), and only about 32% of those individuals are women. This means that only about 13% of the entire Ivory Coast population are literate women, and even fewer are published writers.
For the ones who have been fortunate enough to be published and have their voices heard, they face the challenge of balancing a professional writing life with raising a family at home. They are not giving up though. Assamala believes that “we can smile at the future of Ivory Coast’s women writers,” and that all they need is “great inspiration and hard work” to accomplish their goals. She encourages those women who wish to have their work known to “take advantage of every appropriate opportunity to meet the public, contribute to the visibility of their work and collaborate with the publishing houses.”
To read a short description of the history of French literature in Ivory Coast, or to view a list of women writers from Ivory Coast, visit http://aflit.arts.uwa.edu.au/CountryCoteDIvoireEN.html.
Victoria Shockley is the Assistant Editor for Women Writers, Women Books, as well as a freelance writer and editor. She’s currently in her sophomore year at North Carolina State University in Raleigh and is majoring in English with a concentration in language and writing.
Visit Victoria’s website at http://victoriashockleywrites.wordpress.com/.
Follow Victoria on Twitter: @Victoria_Writes.
Category: Being a Writer, Contemporary Women Writers, French-African Women Writers, Ivorian Women Writers, Multi-National Women Writers, Multicultural Writers, Multinational Women Writers, On Writing, Supporting Women Writers, Women and Writing, Women Writers, Women Writers Across Cultures, Women Writers and Activism, Women Writing Fiction, Women Writing Non-Fiction
About the Author (Author Profile)
Victoria Shockley is a writer and editor, an avid reader of fiction, and a sophomore at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. She’s majoring in English with a concentration in language and writing, and has aspirations to graduate a year ahead of her class to become a professional writer or editor. Recently she declared a minor in French, and is hoping to have the opportunity to participate in NCSU’s study abroad program in Paris, France for the week of spring break. Victoria is one of those rare students who actually enjoys school and learning, and she is proud to have a GPA that falls within the top 9% of the sophomore class at NCSU. Currently she is participating in an internship with Women Writers, Women Books for the fall semester. She is also a part-time copy editor for the NCSU school newspaper, the Technician. When she’s not fine-tuning her own writing (or that of others), you can find her absorbed in a novel, singing slightly off-key renditions of karaoke songs, crossing items off her “bucket list,” or practicing her French to become fluent in the language one day. Connect with Victoria on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/victoriashockley.
Sites That Link to this Post
- Welcome! « | September 12, 2012