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Biography of Ananda DEVI

Mauritius > Arts : Ananda DEVI

Ananda DEVI
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Born on 23/03/1957 (format : day/month/year)

Biography :

Ananda Devi (b. March 23,1957) is a Mauritian writer and anthropologist

Ananda Devi was a prodigy, at the age of 15 winning a literary prize for a short story in a contest organized by French radio and television and the ACCT. It was the beginning of a long career, more then 30 years, during which she progressively has become a more prominent figure in French-language literature from the Indian Ocean.

An ethnologist by training as well as a doctor of social anthropology and a translator, Ananda Devi is sensitive to the overlap of identities and languages. She keenly perceives the human characters and universes that can brush up against one another, clash with one another, and destroy one another in an insular space that is no less analyzed than recreated.

Her works published since 2001 by Gallimard, she has received several literary prizes, in particular for her 2006 novel Eve de ses Décombres, which won the Award of the Five Continents of La Francophonie and the RFO Prize.

Her incisive, lyrical, and penetrating style gives the French language new cultural and linguistic dimensions tied to her native island. Her writing is characterized by bleak themes and her unflinching regard for Mauritian society. Her characters are trapped by forces contrary to society, religion, human cruelty, and fractures in the region's violent history. Their only recourse during their solitary journey is their mental clarity and their profound humanness. On the outside they may look like monsters, but the real monsters are the others—ordinary people who refuse to understand. The only way for them to escape is to know who they are.

Books by Ananda Devi have been translated into several languages. Perfectly trilingual in French, English, and Creole, she did her own English translation for her novel Pagli.

 Her latest novel, entitled Indian Tango, is set in New Delhi, and traces the parallel paths of two characters, one a fifty year old Indian woman who “sees all too clearly the straight line leading to the end of her femininity” and the other a writer who comes to India to “find answers to an innate despair”. Their path in the city is “like a dance, towards and away from each other, a tango of desire and sensuality with a startling conclusion”.

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Last update : 02/28/2008

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