Ananda Devi is a novelist and scholar born in Trois-Boutiques, Mauritius in 1957. She has lived in Ferney-Voltaire, France (near Geneva) since 1989, after having spent some years in Congo-Brazzaville. As an ethnologist--she holds a doctorate in social anthropology from the University of London--and a translator, Devi is sensitive to the interconnection between identites and languages. Choosing to write in French, her novels and short stories also incorporate Creole and Hindi. Her incisive, lyrical and shrewd style offers the French language new cultural and linguistic scope linked to her native island.
Ananda Devi has published eleven novels as well as short stories and poetry, and was featured at the PEN World Voices Festival in New York in 2015. She has won multiple literary awards, including the Prix du Rayonnement de la langue et de la littérature françaises (2014), the Prix Mokanda (2012), the Prix Louis-Guilloux (2010), and the Prix RFO du livre (2006). Devi was made a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government in 2010.
- Les jours vivants, Gallimard, 2013
- Le sari vert, Gallimard, 2009
- Indian Tango, Gallimard, 2007; Host Publications, translated by Jean Anderson, 2011
- La vie de Joséphin le fou, Gallimard, 2003
- Moi, l’interdite, Dapper, 2000
- L’arbre fouet, L’Harmattan, 1997
About Eve Out of Her Ruins
(Deep Vellum Publishing, 2016, Translated by Jeffrey Zuckerman)
With brutal honesty and poetic urgency, Ananda Devi relates the tale of four young Mauritians trapped in their country's endless cycle of fear and violence: Eve, whose body is her only weapon and source of power; Savita, Eve's best friend, the only one who loves Eve without self-interest, who has plans to leave but will not go alone; Saadiq, gifted would-be poet, inspired by Rimbaud, in love with Eve; Clélio, belligerent rebel, waiting without hope for his brother to send for him from France.
Eve out of Her Ruins is a heartbreaking look at the dark corners of the island nation of Mauritius that tourists never see, and a poignant exploration of the construction of personhood at the margins of society. Awarded the prestigious Prix des cinq continents upon publication as the best book written in French outside of France, Eve Out of her Ruins is a harrowing account of the violent reality of life in her native country by the figurehead of Mauritian literature.
The book features an original introduction by Nobel Prize winner J.M.G. Le Clézio, who declares Devi "a truly great writer."
Writing the limits, the limits of writing
"When an author decides to write about violence, there is always the danger that the author herself or the reader or both fall under the seduction of violence, and that, instead of condemning it, they either glorify it or trivialise it. Yet, a writer cannot turn away from the reality of violence - especially in a increasingly tumultuous world. Are there limits to what can written about? Should writers question their own motivations when addressing such issues? And do they come out of it unscathed? These are some of the questions I will be looking at in this lecture, which perhaps all come down, in the end, to the limits of the writer's responsibility and role in the world."
Vanishing lines, soluble boundaries, sliding identities
“Identity is, to me, an exploration of all the possibilities of being. It is the opposite of the monolithic. I don’t know whether I became a writer because I was made up of so many pieces of the world, or whether being a writer has made me aware of the wealth of this multiplicity. I sometimes feel that it is a dance on the wire of possibilities and this, for me, is both a literary credo and a life credo. As people tend to entrench themselves behind the barriers of a fixed, immutable identity, I believe our chance of survival is in the exact opposite: in embracing our hybridity, in accepting that identities are soluble in one another, in recognizing that the other is ourselves.”
September 18, 2016: Brooklyn Book Festival
2pm- Borough Hall Media Room (209 Joralemon Street)
Political Coming of Age. Egyptian journalist Yasmine El Rashidi, author of the debut novel Chronicle of a Last Summer, Mauritian Ananda Devi, author of the prize-winning Eve out of Her Ruins, and Slovenian-Austrian Maja Haderlap, author of Angel of Oblivion, inspired by her family's experiences as a Slovenian minority in southern Austria during WW II, discuss the intersections of politics and identity and the role larger political realities play in shaping the lives of their characters--and the stories they chose to tell.
Moderated by Gabriel Sanders, Tablet Magazine.
September 19, 6pm: Maison Française Columbia.
Vanishing Lines, Soluble Boundaries, Sliding Identities
September 21, 12pm: Harvard, Françoise Lionnet's class, Dept. of Romance Lang and Lit
September 22, 5pm: Boston University, Odile Cazenave
Romance Studies, Boston University, 718 Commonwealth University
September 23, 4pm: Wellesley College, The Suzy Newhouse Center for the Humanities
September 24, 5pm: Porter Square Books
September 26, 4pm: University of Texas at Austin, Department of French and Italian: Writing the limits, the limits of writing.
7pm: Book signing at Malvern books, Austin
613 W 29th St, Austin, TX 78705
September 27, 7pm: Book Signing at Brazos Bookstore, Houston
2421 Bissonnet Street, Houston, TX 77005
10 minute reading, followed by 15-20min conversation with professor Kavita Singh, ending with audience Q&A.
September 28, 7pm: Presentation and book signing at Wild Detective Bookstores, moderated by Deep Vellum Publishing Director and literature in translation advocate Will Evans.
314 W Eighth St, Dallas, TX 75208
September 29 : Texas Christian University
9.30-10-50am: Talk in Dr. Abunasser’s Global Women’s Literature class (English)
11-12.20pm: Talk in the combine classes of Drs. Blaylock and Schein, French 30063 Introduction to Literature in French and French 30163 Francophone Cultures
12.30-1.30pm: Lunch and talk open to the whole campus community
2-3pm: Talk in the Introduction to Women’s Studies class
5-7pm: University of Texas at Dallas, Center for Translation Studies