A Reading & Conversation with Rwandan author Scholastique Mukasonga

5:30 pm on Monday, September 23, 2019
7:00 pm on Monday, September 23, 2019
CILSE, 610 Commonwealth Ave.
Contact Organization:
Center for the Study of Europe
Contact Name:
Elizabeth Amrien
Contact Phone:
Scholastique Mukasonga

Join us for a reading and conversation with Scholastique Mukasonga. Born in Rwanda in 1956, Scholastique Mukasonga experienced from childhood the violence and humiliation of the ethnic conflicts that shook her country. In 1960, her family was displaced to the polluted and under-developed Bugesera district of Rwanda. Mukasonga was later forced to leave the school of social work in Butare and flee to Burundi. She settled in France in 1992, only two years before the brutal genocide of the Tutsi swept through Rwanda. In the aftermath, Mukasonga learned that 27 of her family members had been massacred. Twelve years later, Gallimard published her autobiographical account Inyenzi ou les Cafards, which marked Mukasonga's entry into literature. This event celebrates this year's publication of The Barefoot Woman, translated from French by Jordan Stump, by Archipelago Books.

The Barefoot Woma​n​ is Scholastique Mukasonga’s loving, funny, devastating tribute to her mother Stefania, a tireless protector of her children, a keeper of Rwandan tradition even in the cruelest and bleakest of exiles, a sage, a wit, and in the end a victim, like almost the entire family, of the Rwandan genocide. But it’s also a wry, sharp-eyed portrait of the world her mother lived in, from its humblest commonplaces (beer, sorghum, bread) to its deepest horrors (rape, murder, unimaginable loss).

Moderated by Odile Cazenave. Co-sponsored by the Department of Romance Studies, the Center for African Studies, and the Institute for the Study of Culture and World Religions (CURA).