Arts Calendar

Grand Valley State University

Congo lecture by Kama Sywor Kamanda Award-winning Congolese writer and poet Kama Sywor Kamanda

Congo lecture by Kama Sywor Kamanda

Tuesday, March 25, 2014
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Kirkhof Center Room 2250, Allendale Campus

Humanities, Literary Arts

Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1952, Kama Sywor Kamanda published his first collection of stories at age 15. He went on to study literature, journalism, political science, philosophy and law at the Université de Kinshasa and the University of Liège.

Kamanda worked as a journalist and helped to establish the Union of Congolese Writers in 1970, before leaving the Congo for political reasons in 1977. He lived throughout Europe before settling in Luxembourg. In 1985 he was the founding president of the African Association of Writers.

As a writer, Kamanda has produced more than a dozen volumes of poetry, hundreds of stories and several novels, all in French. Many of his works have received international recognition and been translated into Japanese, Italian, Greek and English, including "Tales" and "Wind Whispering Soul," both in 2001. His poetry and stories often draw their imagery from African traditions, with a focus on the pain of exile and solitude, and the fight for what he once called a real and just humanism where dreams can become reality for men and women from all continents.

Among the many awards and distinctions Kamanda has received for his work are the T. Gautier Prize, Heredia Prize, Prize of the Académie Française, Prize Louise Labbé, French Academy Paul Verlaine Award, the Black Africa Grand Prize for Literature, the Poet of the Millennium 2000 Award from the International Poets Academy in India, and a Master Diploma for Specialty Honors in Writing from the U.S. World Academy of Letters in 2006.

NOTE: Kamanda is unable to attend the French Melodies event on March 26, as previously planned.

Kamanda's visit to Grand Valley is sponsored by the Modern Languages and Literatures Department, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, The Office of Multicultural Affairs, Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies, Padnos International Center, African and African-American Area Studies, Political Science and English.

For more information, contact Isabelle Cata, French Section coordinator in the Modern Languages and Literatures Department, at 616-331-2477, or