Tadjo, Véronique

  • Véronique Tadjo
  • Writer, Artist and Academic, Côte d’Ivoire
  • Abstract Title: Viruses are our New Enemies: Interpreting the Ebola Epidemic and its Many Narratives

Bio: Véronique Tadjo is a writer, artist, and academic. Born in Paris, she grew up in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. Her work includes poetry collections and novels among which The Shadow of Imana; Queen Pokou (Grand Prix d’Afrique Noire, 2005); Far Away from my Father and En compagnie des hommes (The Whispering Tree, translation in progress). She is also an author of books for young people. She has lived in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa where she was Head of French and Francophone Studies for seven years at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. She now shares her time between London and Abidjan. Véronique Tadjo received the Literary Prize of L'Agence de Cooperation Culturelle et Technique in 1983 and the UNICEF Prize in 1993 forMamy Wata and the Monster, which was also chosen as one of Africa's 100 Best Books of the 20th Century, one of only four children's books selected. In 2005, Tadjo won theGrand prix littéraire d'Afrique noire and in 2016 the Bernard Dadié national grand prize for literature

Abstract: The world seems to be under attack. Today the Coronavirus is spreading through China and infiltrating other parts of the world, bringing with it the fear of a pandemic. At the end of 2013, the Ebola virus nearly destroyed three countries in West Africa: Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The virus was finally contained in 2016 after more than eleven thousand victims lost their lives and countless people had fallen ill. What types of narratives came out of that particular epidemic? As African writers and artists, how can we interpret and reclaim the memory of this period of intense suffering and human solidarity? What can we learn from it before events overtake our consciousness and silence us? Already, Ebola has resurfaced, this time in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a zone of fierce conflict. How can we translate the unspoken?