From the fringe to the centre: Meet ‘The New French’ in the latest issue of Words Without Borders

The French-language literary tradition distinguishes between ‘French’ or ‘hexagonal’ literature, written by authors born in France (the hexagon), and ‘Francophone’ literature, written by authors born elsewhere …

—Susan Harris

So begins the latest issue of Words Without Borders, titled, ‘The New French‘.

The issue provides a snapshot of French literature in translation at this point in time, a moment where more and more work is being translated and writers living in the postcolony are moving from the fringe to the centre. It details how, through shared language, the broad scope of what is considered contemporary French literature is becoming more diverse and expanding past the physical borders of the country.

Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse’s short story ‘Motherhoods’ troubles the heart, with mother-son conflict at its centre and the poison of the Rwandan genocide beginning to leak into the periperhy of daily life.

‘Hot Chocolate’, from Moroccan author Rachid O’s classic collection Chocolat chaud (1998), appears translated into English for the first time: A young boy finds a photo of his Nanny’s former charge, a French boy called Noé, and begins to live vicariously through the image.

  • Explore The New French here.

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