A round table discussion with French poet Sylvie Kandé on her book The Neverending Quest for the Other Shore (translated by Alexander Dickow)
Event will happen online at: https://africanlit.org/lecture-series-events/
Sylvie Kandé’s neo-epic in three cantos is a double narrative combining today’s tales of African migration to Europe with the legend of Abubakar II. Abubakar, emperor of 14th-Century Mali, sailed West toward the new world, never to return. Migrants heroically claim control over their own destinies by embarking on adventure, just as Abubakar once launched his immense expedition. Kandé’s language deftly weaves a dialogue between these two narratives and between the epic traditions of the globe. The poem swings between epic stylization, griot storytelling, and colloquial banter, capturing an astonishing range of human experience, from the dreams of kings to the visions of migrants. Yet the migrant and the king bear much in common: heroism is always one step from hubris, and adventure one step from folly. Kandé makes of the migrant a new hero, a future hero whose destiny has not yet taken shape, whose stories are still waiting to be told in their fullness and grandeur: the neverending quest has only just begun.