Recently, I was lucky enough to see Maryse Conde and Richard Philcox in London. Maryse was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize this year, and we talked about her recent work, including Mets et Merveilles which has just been published.
We also discussed my project on Zobel. Maryse and Richard remembered meeting Zobel in Africa, although they did not know each other well.
In her childhood memoir, Le Coeur à rire et à pleurer (1999) / Tales from the Heart (trans), Maryse’s first encounter with Zobel’s literature is a pivotal episode which I really enjoy teaching to the students on my University course. After having read La Rue Cases-Nègres with me first, it is always interesting to see how they react to Maryse’s own discovery of the text. In the same book, Maryse makes a comment which has inspired me to delve deeper into Zobel’s work and life: “La lecture de Joseph Zobel, plus que des discours théoriques, m’a ouvert les yeux” (p. 103)
I won’t be updating the blog for a few weeks now, so I’ll leave you with some video material. In 2010, Maryse and Richard accepted my invitation to give Guest Lectures at the University of Birmingham, and you can watch all of Maryse’s lecture by clicking here: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/lcahm/departments/french/events/2010/maryse-conde-lecture.aspx