Camara Laye

Infobox Writer
name = Camara Laye

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birthdate = 1928
birthplace = Kouroussa, Guinea
deathdate = 1980
deathplace = Dakar, Senegal
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nationality = Guinea/Mandé
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notableworks = "L'Enfant noir" (trans. as "The African Child" or "The Dark Child")
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awards = Prix Charles Veillon

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Camara Laye (1928 in Kouroussa, Guinea - 1980 in Dakar, Senegal) was a African writer from Guinea. During his time at college he wrote "The African Child" ("L'enfant Noir"), a novel based loosely on his own childhood. He would later become a writer of many essays and was a foe of the government of Guinea.

Early life

He was born Malinke (a Mandé speaking ethnicity) into a caste that traditionally worked as blacksmiths and goldsmiths. His family name is Camara, and following the tradition of his community, it precedes his given name -- Laye. His mother was from the village of Tindican, and his immediate childhood surroundings were not predominantly influenced by French culture. He attended both the Koranic and French elementary schools in Kouroussa. At age fourteen he went to Conakry, capital of Guinea, to continue his education. He attended vocational studies in motor mechanics. In 1947, he travelled to Paris to continue studies in mechanics. There he worked and took further courses in engineering and worked towards the baccalauréat.

Early writing

In 1953, he published his first novel, "L'Enfant noir" ("The African Child", 1954, also published under the title "The Dark Child"), an autobiographical story, which narrates in the first person a journey from childhood in Kouroussa, through challenges in Conakry, to France. The book won the Prix Charles Veillon in 1954. "L'Enfant noir" was followed by "Le Regard du roi" (1954; "The Radiance of the King", 1956). These two novels are among the very earliest major works in francophone African literature.

Mature writing

In 1956, Camara returned to Africa, first to Dahomey (now Benin), then Gold Coast (now Ghana) and then to newly independent Guinea, where he held government posts. In 1965, he left Guinea for Dakar, Senegal because of political issues, never to return. In 1966 his third novel, "Dramouss" ("A Dream of Africa", 1968), was published. In 1978 his fourth and final work was published, "Le Maître de la parole - Kouma Lafôlô Kouma" ("The Guardian of the Word", 1980), based on a Malian epic, as told by the griot Babou Condé, about the famous Sundiata Keita (also spelled Sunjata), the thirteenth-century founder of the Mali Empire.

Authorship contoversy

Camara's authorship of "Le Regard du Roi" has been questioned. Literary scholar Adele King, in her book "Rereading Camara Laye" African Studies Review, Vol. 46, No. 3. (Dec., 2003), pp. 170-172,] makes a strong case for the assertions that Camara Laye had considerable help in writing "L'Enfant Noir" and did not write "Le Regard du Roi" at all. King makes the further claim that "Laye, an African who was not an anticolonialist, was used by a French government eager to promote the French Union"


Camara died in 1980 in Dakar, Senegal of a kidney infection.

See also

*List of African writers by country



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  • Camara Laye — Camara Laye, né le 1er janvier 1928 à Kouroussa, un village de Haute Guinée, et mort le 4 février 1980 à Dakar, est un écrivain guinéen d expression française. MWANDU MAKWAKALA BERTRAND DEVOIR DES français Sommaire 1 Biographie …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Camara Laye — (* 1. Januar 1928 in Kouroussa; † 4. Februar 1980 in Dakar) war ein guineischer Schriftsteller der Négritude. Camara war sein Familienname, Laye sein Vorname. In englisch sprachigen Werken und Biographien wird meist die umgekehrte Reihenfolge… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Camara Laye — Laye (Camara) ou Camara Laye (1928 1980) écrivain guinéen. L Enfant noir (1953) sembla stéréotypé aux critiques africains. Exilé à Dakar (1965), Laye dénonça le régime de Sékou Touré dans Dramouss (1966). Le Maître de la parole (1978) transcrit l …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Laye Camara — (* 1. Januar 1928 in Kouroussa; † 4. Februar 1980 in Dakar) war ein guineischer Schriftsteller der Négritude. Camara war sein Familienname, Laye sein Vorname. In englisch sprachigen Werken und Biographien wird oft die umgekehrte Reihenfolge… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • LAYE (C.) — LAYE CAMARA (1928 1980) S’il est un écrivain d’Afrique qui a complètement assimilé la culture occidentale, et en l’occurrence française, c’est bien ce romancier né à Kouroussa. Sa formation le mène de l’école coranique (sa famille est musulmane)… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • laye — [ lɛ ] n. f. VAR. laie • 1751; « coffret » 1357; moy. néerl. laeye ♦ Mus. Partie inférieure du sommier de l orgue qui abrite aussi les soupapes. ⊗ HOM. Lai, laid, laie, lais, lait, lei (2. leu), lez. ● laye ou laie nom féminin (de laie 2) Sorte… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Camara — (Laye). V. Laye (Camara) …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Camara — Camara,   Laye, guineischer Schriftsteller, Laye, Camara …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Camara — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Sommaire 1 Patronymes 2 Plante 3 Entrepris …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Camara — oder Câmara ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Abdelaziz Camara, französischer Fußballspieler Abdoulaye Camara, malischer Fußballspieler Aboubacar M Baye Camara, guineischer Fußballspieler Alcar Camara, senegalesischer Fußballspieler… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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