Mariama Ba

(1929-1981) Senegalese novelist and activist. Despite the brevity of her writing career, Mariama Ba’s published novels secured her an international reputation. Une Si longue letter (1979; tr So Long a Letter), her first novel, won the first Noma Award for Publishing in Africa at the 1980 Frankfurt Book Fair. Le Chant ecarlate (tr Scarlet Song, 1981), her second novel, was published posthumously and also gained international attention. Ba’s works examine such issues and polygamy, clitoridectomy, and woman’s ability to transcend the negative consequences of the irresponsible use of power in a traditional Muslim and patriarchal society. The novels affirm the ability of women to experience such potentially devastating  situations, and yet move beyond victimization to action and wholesome self-expression.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

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