On Saturday, January 5, between 10:00 am and noon, Maryse Condé, the famous writer from Guadeloupe who won the Alternative Nobel Prize for Literature on October 12, 2018, was at the Librairie Générale Jasor in Jarry in the town of Baie-Mahault (Guadeloupe) for a book signing. Many readers came to meet her.
It was 10:08 am when Maryse Condé, pushed by her husband Richard Philcox, crossed in a wheelchair the doorway of the Librairie Générale Jasor located in the industrial zone of Jarry in the town of Baie-Mahault. When she arrived, about fifty people warmly applauded the Guadeloupean writer, author of many books (novels, essays, books for children etc), which was in Stockholm (Sweden) on Sunday, December 9 to receive the Alternative Nobel Prize for Literature that a special jury awarded to her on October 12. Maryse Condé assisted by two friends, including Molière Athalis, was behind the table nicely decorated by the team of the Librairie Générale Jasor, in the background were photographs of the famous Guadeloupean during various events. Without wasting time, the book signing began so that all the audience met during the two hours the novelist who is weakened by the disease and who will be 82 years old on February 11. Maryse Condé was immediately overwhelmed with great emotion, a tear trickled down her cheek when the first person in the queue – a woman – sat down to congratulate her and have a dedication on a novel.
The audience was composed of children who came with their parents, women and men of all ages and from all social backgrounds from Guadeloupe, Martinique and France.
At this friendly meeting, there were, for example this reader, born in 1939, who came with press cuttings about this world-famous writer and who had as teacher Mrs Boucolon, Maryse Condé’s mother; this lady who did not have a book to sign but who came to tell the novelist that she grows medicinal plants; this French teacher who asked Maryse Condé: “what advice would you give to a young teacher like me?”, “None”, said the former professor of literature at Columbia University in the United States; this young student in master’s degree in creole to whom Maryse Condé said: “All languages are beautiful”… Some were lucky to kiss the author, shake her hand and take pictures with her…
Even if the winner of the Alternative Nobel Prize for Literature is not the woman she was since her disease, she dictated the dedication that had to be written on the works that the readers presented to her then her signature was affixed with a seal.
During this book signing, Maryse Condé smiled, laughed, joked, looked serious and also cried, even if she tried to hide her face and her tears with her hat…
Régine Jasor has known Maryse Condé for several years. Indeed, in 2002, she published one of her children’s books entitled “La Planète Orbis” . Then, the writer supervised two other books for Éditions Jasor : “L’Héritage de Caliban” and “Bouquet de Voix pour Tirolien”.
“Guadeloupe, my little native land”
Guadeloupean publisher and bookseller was one of the organizers of this literary event: “Maryse Condé’s friends and readers wanted to see her, this idea was submitted to her as soon as she arrived in Guadeloupe and she agreed. We are expecting between 200 to 300 people, this morning. This is a new opportunity for her to publicly thank Guadeloupe and meet her readers after the tribute the Regional Council of Guadeloupe paid to her on December 23 at the Memorial ACTe”, she said. So, the Librairie Générale Jasor and Éditions Jasor, two Guadeloupean companies, proudly welcomed the winner of the Alternative Nobel Prize for Literature. In addition, Régine Jasor was one of the people Maryse Condé invited to be with her last December at the award ceremony in Sweden: “During her speech that lasted about ten minutes, Maryse Condé did everything so that Guadeloupe which is “her little native land” was at this ceremony. We wish to show her our esteem and our affection, to tell her that we are deeply proud of this prize”, she said.
Régine Jasor is confident about the literary future of the island but she is aware that Maryse Condé is an outstanding writer. “You need stubbornness, insolence in the positive sense of the word and a lot of talent to get to the stage where today is Maryse Condé.There are talented writers in Guadeloupe, the seeds were planted or started to grow. Some – including women – already won prizes”, she said.