We are meeting after a long time. As you know, we are all used to posts on famous writers, their lives, their works and also their fights. Today, I have decided to share with you the prowess of Mauritian writing. You might think that Mauritian writing is very recent and we have an insignificant literary culture. Such is not the case and to prove it to you all, I present to you today, not one but five outstanding writers who were not only popular and successful in our beautiful Paradise Island but also amazed the whole world with their literary talents:
- The first person is Lindsay Collen, born in South Africa, is a Mauritian novelist and social activist fighting against social injustices such as gender discrimination. Notable works undertaken by Mrs. Collen is: There is a Tide, The Rape of Sita, Mutiny, Boy and The malaria man and her neighbours. Lindsay Collen won twice in 1994 and 2005, The Commonwealth Writers’ Prize.
- The second one is Ananda Devi, born in Mauritius itself, displays her fine skills very early in writing by winning at the age of 15, the short story competition organized by Radio France Internationale. She pursues her higher studies in London where she obtained a PhD in Social Anthropology. In 1977, she publishes a collection of short stories called Solstices. After living several years in Brazzaville, Congo, she moves to Ferney-Voltaire in 1989 where she publishes her first novel, Rue La Poudrière. This is followed by other novels; La Voile de Draupadi in 1993, L’Arbre Fouet in 1997 and in 2000, Moi, L’Interdite which will win the Prix des Cinq Continents de la Francophonie in 2006 and will even be adapted in cinema. Ananda Devi also received other honorific titles such as the Certificat D’Honneur Maurice Cagnon du Conseil International D’Études Francophones in 2007, the Prix du Rayonnement de la langue et littérature française which was given by the Académie Française and she was made Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French government.
- The third writer is Jean-Marie Gustave LeClézio, born in Nice in France. Though he is French, he also considers himself and has Mauritian nationality. During French colonial period in Mauritius, the LeClézio family fled France and arrived in Mauritius and stayed here even when the British took over the island. Even though LeClézio knew Mauritius only during holidays he used to spend here, he is also recognized as a Mauritian writer. LeClézio stepped very early in the writing field at the age of seven. He acquired success at the age of 23, when his first novel Le Procès-Verbal (The Interrogation) was published and won the Prix Renaudot and was shortlisted for the Prix Goncourt in 1963. In 1980, he won the Grand Prix Littéraire Paul-Morand awarded by L’Académie Francaise. On 25 October 1991, he was made Chevalier de la Légion D’Honneur and was promoted to the rank of Officier (Officer) in 2009. In 1996, he was made Officier de L’Ordre National du Mérite. Finally, in 2008, he was received as Laureate of the Nobel Prize in Literature.
- The fourth one is Aqiil Gopee, born in Mauritius itself, made his first mark in the literary field by publishing his first book La Pièce in April 2012, followed by Fantômes and collection of poetry Orgasmes in 2013 and the following year was proclaimed Laureate of the Prix International du Jeune Écrivain en Langue Française for his rewriting of the story The Little Red Riding Hood, Loup et Rouge and he again won the prize in 2016 for La Porte en Fer. He also earned the S.I.C.O.M Youth Excellence Award for the Promotion of Literature in 2014, Best Local Writer in the National Drama Festival held in Mauritius and Prix Jean-Franchette des Jeunes in 2015. Mr. Gopee was very young less than 20 years of age when he won most of his prizes which shows the literary resources of our young talents here in the island.
- The fifth person is a very special one. He is named Dev Virahsawmy, born in Mauritius itself, is a renowned Mauritian poet and writer. He has written numerous poems, a novel and other works in Mauritian Creole (Creole Morisyen) and is known for translating many worldwide known works written in English or French in Mauritian Creole, like Shakespeare’s Macbeth or Moliere’s Tartuffe.
À bientôt for another piece of news on major writers, their lives, their work and their struggle. Through this post, at Young Writers and Poets, we wish young talents of Mauritius to be inspired and move ahead with their writing.
From: Foolchund Saahil