Wednesday, August 08, 2007

A Malian Moment

The great library of Timbuktu is about to be restored, depending on the political will (and aims) of Libya and South Africa. Meanwhile Rokia Traoré is touring her stage show Wati, which imagines Mozart as a griot at the court of 13th century Malian emperor Soundiata Keita. Keita was the Charlemagne of Africa, but his name meant little to puzzled audiences at the Barbican. With Touareg bands like freedom fighters Tinariwen and Timbuktu-based Tartit insurgent, and drawing crowds to the annual Festival in the Desert, is this Mali's moment?

2007 also sees the resurgence of Mali's film industury - following in the path laid down by the great Souleymane Cissé - with Faro: Goddess of the Waters screening at the Edinburgh Film Festival, and making the new Artistic Director, Hannah McGill's, top five picks for her first fest.

Are there Malian writers about to build on the recognition of African writers in Britain this year, with Chimananda Adichie Ngozi winning the Orange prize, and Chinua Achebe winning the Man Booker International Prize? Any suggestions or recommendations for Malian reads?

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