Kingué intertwines French and English in novel reading

Brianna Marshall, Senior Writer

Professor of French Angèle Kingué celebrated the release of the English translation of her book, “Venus of Khala-Kanti,” on April 7 in Bucknell Hall. Kingué offered insight into her writing process in addition to reading excerpts from the book.

Kingué provided passages from both the French and English editions of her novel, explaining the importance of reading in “the language in which [she] birthed the words.” As a native French speaker from Cameroon, Kingué described her preference for writing in French, but also expressed her excitement regarding the English translation as a way for non-French speaking friends and family to appreciate her work.

The inspiration for “Venus of Khala-Kanti” comes from a newspaper clipping regarding the brutal mistreatment of a woman at the hands of her husband. While Kingué admits that she was never able to locate the article again after her initial encounter, the image of this unnamed woman “haunted” her, prompting the creation of a novel to tell her story. While female empowerment is understandably present throughout “Venus of Khala-Kanti,” Kingué emphasized the role of strong male protagonists in addition to her female characters.

“Characters take on a life of their own,” Kingué said.

Professor of English and Director of the Griot Institute for Africana Studies Carmen Gillespie expressed her appreciation for Kingué as an academic as well as an individual during the book release event. Published through the support of the Griot Institute, the “Venus of Khala-Kanti” translation was described by Gillespie through the words of Kingué herself: “There are no coincidences.”

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