Maryse Condé was born in Guadeloupe in 1937 as the youngest of eight siblings. She earned her MA and PhD in Comparative Literature at Paris–Sorbonne University and went on to have a distinguished academic career, receiving the title of Professor Emerita of French at Columbia University in New York, where she taught and lived for many years. She has also lived in various West African countries, most notably in Mali, where she gained inspiration for her worldwide bestseller Segu, for which she was awarded the African Literature Prize and several other respected French awards. Condé was awarded the 2018 New Academy Prize (or “Alternative Nobel”) in Literature for her oeuvre. The Wondrous and Tragic Life of Ivan and Ivana is her latest novel.
Photograph © Claire Garate