Past Event

Mohamed Mbougar Sarr in conversation with Souleymane Bachir Diagne

October 25, 2023
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
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East Gallery, Maison Française, Buell Hall

The Columbia administration has announced that the Morningside campus will be open today only to Columbia ID holders, and closed to non-Columbia affiliated people. We are sad and disappointed to inform you that the conversation between Mohamed Mbougar Sarr and Souleymane Bachir Diagne will not be accessible to people without a Columbia ID card. We will record it and add the video on youtube afterwards.

Mohamed Mbougar Sarr joins us for a personal conversation with Souleymane Bachir Diagne about his writing and his perspective on the role of literature in our lives.

Mohamed Mbougar Sarr was born in Dakar, Senegal, in 1990. He studied literature and philosophy at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. Brotherhood, his first novel, won the Grand Prix du Roman Métis, the Prix Ahmadou Kourouma, and the French Voices Grand Prize, in Alexia Trigo’s translation. He was named Chevalier of the National Order of Merit by the president of Senegal.  Sarr became the first writer from sub-Saharan Africa to be awarded France’s oldest and most prestigious literary prize, the Prix Goncourt, for his novel The Most Secret Memory of Men (La plus secrète mémoire des hommes) in 2021. That book, a gripping literary mystery and coming-of-age novel, unravels the fascinating life of a maligned Black author, based on Yambo Ouologuem. It has been widely acclaimed as a “magnificent novel that also offers a profound reflection on the resonance of literature in our lives” (David Diop) and “a powerful book, crossed by an epic breath that celebrates the power of literature” (Alain Mabanckou). 

Souleymane Bachir Diagne is Professor of French and Philosophy at Columbia. His field of research includes history of logic, history of philosophy, Islamic philosophy, African philosophy and literature. He has won a number of prestigious prizes including the Dagnan-Bouveret prize awarded by the French Academy of Moral and Political Sciences for one of his books, Bergson postcolonial. L’élan vital dans la pensée de Senghor et de Mohamed Iqbal, and the Edouard Glissant Prize for his work. 

How a Literary Scandal Inspired a Mischievous New African Novel, read the New Yorker review on Mohamed Mbougar Sarr’s prize-winning novel, or the article in the New York Times,  A Novel Reconsiders an African Writer Tarnished by Scandal

This event is made possible with support from Villa Albertine and the Other Press.