Abdouraham A. Waberi

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Abdouraham A. Waberi was born in Djibouti, Northeast Africa in 1965. In 1985 he went to France to continue his studies in English. Today he teaches English in Caen, Normandy and works as a journalist, particularly as a reviewer for ´Le Monde diplomatique´. He also advises the French publishing house Le Serpent à Plumes on the choice of African literature.
Djibouti declared independence in 1977 when Waberi was 12. He therefore considers himself his country’s ´contemporary´ and feels duty-bound to represent it in his literary work. The author’s first three published books can be seen as a trilogy about Djibouti incorporating various genres. His two volumes of short stories, ´Le Pays sans ombre´ (1994) and ´Cahier nomade´ (1996), were followed in 1997 by the novel ´Balbala´. In 1996 the author received the Grand prix de l’Afrique noire for ´Cahier nomade´, which was also translated into German.

Following Waberi’s participation in the festival Fest’Africa in Lille, in 1998 its organizer Nocky Djedanoum invited him to Kigali in order to take part in the project ´Rwanda: écrire par devoir de mémoire´. Together with nine other writers, a film director and a sculptor he attempted an artistic interpretation of the genocide of 1994. This work produced the volume of prose ´Moisson de crânes´ (in English roughly ´Harvest of Skulls´).

"Waberi depicts the conditions in his country and in other areas in Africa from a distance (he lives in France) with an almost eerie skill", commented one German reviewer on his short stories. As a fan of travel literature à la Bruce Chatwin the poet is, however, fully aware of the dangers involved in this genre: "One can seem a little condescending when commenting on something from a distance". Today Waberi no longer feels the need to speak on behalf of Africa or his own country, as he used to. He wants to free himself as a writer from ethnocentric visions in order to be able to focus on more general themes in poetic writing. This attitude is also apparent in ´Moisson de crânes´. It is "a reflection on evil", comments the critic Boniface Mongo-Mboussa, "but above all a reflection on language’s inability to articulate this evil".
Author: International Festival of Literature Berlin (ilb)

Works

Passage des larmes

Published Written,
2009
The Tears’ Passage. Lattès Parution

In the United States of Africa

Published Written,
2009
University of Nebraska Press

Moisson de Crânes

Published Written,
2004
Le Serpent à Plumes: Paris

Transit

Published Written,
2003
Gallimard: Paris

Balbala

Published Written,
2002
Gallimard: Paris

Le Postcolonialisme

Established,
2000
Editor, L´Harmattan: Paris

Rift route rails

Published Written,
2000
Gallimard: Paris

Les Nomades, mes frères, vont boire à la Grande Ourse

Published Written,
2000
Pierrron: Sarreguemines

Le Pays sans ombre

Published Written,
2000
Le Serpent à Plumes: Paris

L´Œil nomade

Published Written,
1997
L´Harmattan: Paris

The Land Without Shadows

Published Written,
1965
University Press of Virginia: Cahier nomade

Www

International Festival of Literature Berlin

Official website