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In Translation: David Diop on Beyond the Door of No Return with Madhu H. Kaza

Thursday, 7:00 pm EDT April 18, 2024

The Center for Fiction
& Livestreamed

The Center for Fiction welcomes David Diop, International Booker Prize winner for At Night All Blood Is Black, to celebrate his latest novel Beyond the Door of No Return, translated by Sam Taylor. Named one of the Best Books of 2023 by the Atlantic and the Financial Times, the novel follows Michel Adanson, a Parisian botanist who dies in 1806, leaving behind an unpublished memoir. Written in it is the story of the years he spent in Senegal long ago, and the tale of Maram, the woman he loved. While traveling through West Africa for his research, a young Adanson hears about Maram, a noblewoman from the kingdom of Waalo who was sold into slavery but later escaped, and becomes obsessed with finding her. This mesmerizing work portrays the horrific violence of colonial occupation while drawing from a rich background of Senegalese oral tradition. Diop crafts a “hypnotic, powerful historical novel in which stories nest within one another like dolls” (Clémence Michallon, New York Times Book Review). Writer and translator Madhu H. Kaza (Lines of Flight) joins Diop for a powerful conversation on his novel and how, as he writes, “Only fiction, the novel of a life, can give a genuine glimpse of its profound reality.”

This event is a part of Villa Albertine’s Authors on Tour program. David Diop’s 2024 U.S. tour is made possible by Villa Albertine.

David Diop - Cover US Large

In Conversation

  • David Diop © Eric Traversié

    David Diop

    David Diop

    David Diop was born in Paris and was raised in Senegal. He is the head of the Arts, Languages, and Literature Department at the University of Pau, where his research includes such topics as eighteenth-century French literature and European representations of Africa in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. His second novel, At Night All Blood Is Black, was awarded the International Booker Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for fiction.

    Photo Credit: Eric Traversié

  • madhu-kaza (1)

    Madhu H. Kaza

    Madhu H. Kaza

    Born in Andhra Pradesh, India, Madhu H. Kaza is a writer, translator, artist, and educator based in New York. She is the author of Lines of Flight and the editor of Kitchen Table Translation, a volume that connects migration to translation, and which features diasporic and BIPOC translators. Her work has appeared in the Yale Review, Gulf Coast, Los Angeles Review of Books, Guernica, Two Lines, Waxwing, Chimurenga, and more. She worked for several years for the Bard Prison Initiative where she served most recently as Assistant Dean of the Microcolleges. She currently teaches at the Bread Loaf Literary Translators’ Conference and in the MFA Writing program at Columbia University.