By Nicki Hitchcott
The main profitable lady author from Francophone Africa, Calixthe Beyala occupies an strange position in French literary and pop culture. Her novels are bestsellers and he or she looks frequently on French tv, but a conviction for plagiarism has tarnished her popularity. therefore, she is either an “authentic” African writer and a confirmed literary “fake.” In Calixthe Beyala, Nicki Hitchcott considers representations of Beyala within the media, serious responses to her writing, and Beyala’s efforts to put herself as a champion of women’s rights. Hitchcott will pay equivalent realization to Beyala’s novels, tracing their explorations of the function of migration within the production of non-public id.
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Additional resources for Calixthe Beyala: Performances of Migration (Contemporary French & Francophone Cultures)
It’s racial hatred! I’ve had enough! ] They’re trying to break me. 56 It was Le Canard enchaîné that initially exposed the similarities between Le petit prince de Belleville and the French translation of Howard Buten’s novel, Burt, similarities which ultimately led a judge to rule that ‘Il apparaît incontestable que Mme Beyala s’est largement inspirée de l’œuvre de M. 57 The petit prince de Belleville judgement was, of course, only the beginning of what has become known as ‘l’Affaire Beyala’. It was the second allegation of plagiarism, launched by Assouline in relation to the prize-wining novel Les Honneurs perdus, that caused the greater scandal in the European press.
The publisher’s blurb, however, describes the text not as autobiography but, more ambiguously, as ‘largement autobiographique’, and labels it a novel. Nevertheless, the decision to name her narrator Beyala forces readers to assume that at least some of the details of Tapoussière’s impoverished childhood are similar to Beyala’s own. She also frequently talks about her childhood in published interviews, on television and on radio, and writes about it in her first essay, Lettre d’une Africaine à ses soeurs occidentales.
Occupies a site of discursive conflict between a local assemblage of more or less related oppositional practices and a global apparatus of assimilative institutional/ commercial codes. indd 36 27/9/06 12:55:08 Calixthe Beyala Incorporated? 84 Calixthe Beyala’s success precisely emanates from her position at the intersection Huggan describes. As an outspoken political activist and writer she challenges colonialism and its legacies; as a product manufactured by the French book industry she reaps the benefits of her own exoticism, self-consciously promoting herself as a ‘postcolonial exotic’ commodity.