Hemley Boum wrapped up the penultimate day of Season 2 of the Afrolit Sans Frontieres Virtual Literary Festival from Paris, France on Sunday, April 26, 2020. She was hosted by Raoul Djimeli.
The Afrolit Sans Frontiers Virtual Literary Festival, an initiative by and for writers of African origin, started in March as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic international lockdown. Season 2, like the first edition, features some of the leading names in African letters today with curation by Maaza Mengiste and festival founder Zukiswa Wanner. It sees 16 writers from 14 countries streaming either on Instagram or Facebook from 13 cities in English, French, and Portuguese over eight days under the festival theme “What I Wish You’d Ask Me.”
Since the festival started on April 20, bibliophiles have interacted with Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor from Nairobi, Kenya, Lola Shoneyin from Lagos, Nigeria, Elma Shaw from Kigali, Rwanda, Edwige Renee Dro from Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire, Sulaiman Addonia from Brussels, Belgium, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi from Manchester, UK, Napo Masheane from Johannesburg, South Africa, and Mona Eltahawy from Montreal, Canada. There have also been sessions with festival curators Maaza Mengiste alongside Natasha Omokhodion-Kalulu Banda, Remy Ngamije, Bisi Adjapon, and Chike Frankie Edozien and Zukiswa Wanner alongside Chike Frankie Edozien, Kalaf Epalanga, and Leye Adenle.
The first session of Sunday was Fred Khumalo streaming from Johannesburg, South Africa followed by Hemley Boum who closed out the day from Paris, France. Boum is the writer of Le Clan Des Femmes (2010), Si D’aimer (2012), and Les Maquisards (2016). She received the Prix Kourouma 2015 and Prix Du Livre Engage De La Cene Littéraire 2016 for Les Maquisards.
The Cameroonian writer’s session was conducted on Instagram principally in French. Fortunately for us, Edwige Renee Dro was on hand to help with translating back and forth between English and French in real time for which we were all very grateful. Boum read an excerpt from Les Maquisards, which recounts the fight for liberation in Cameroon and a poem from Les Jours Viennent Et Passent. Boum who came to writing later in life spoke about her literary influences, her focus when writing, her regret that her work wasn’t widely available across the continent and much more.
You can watch the video of her session below.