When Maryse Condé left his native island in July 2007 to join France, she gave to the Caribbean Media Library “Bettino Lara” (LAMÉCA) in Basse-Terre her private library she owned in Guadeloupe. The author bequeathed to LAMECA, managed by the Departmental Council of Guadeloupe, about 1500 books in order to make them available to Guadeloupean young people.
On Thursday April 16th, 2015, the Association of Caribbean Writers, during its 4th congress, paid tribute to Maryse Condé. Daniel Maximin, Guadeloupean writer and honorary president of the 4th Congress of Caribbean Writers, recited a few lines of poetry in honor of the novelist who, in 2007, bequeathed to young people her private library made up of nearly 1500 books.
Native of Pointe-à-Pitre and aged 79, Maryse Condé nee Boucolon, studied English at Sorbonne University in Paris then, she taught in several countries in West Africa and in the United States. She published her first novel at the age of 44 – “Une Saison à Rihata” thanks to Editions Robert Laffont – then about thirty books followed among which : “Ségou” and “Desirada” published by Robert Laffont ;“Moi,Tituba Sorcière”, “La Traversée de la Mangrove”, “Histoire de la Femme Cannibale” and “Victoire, les Saveurs et les Mots”, by Mercure de France ; “La Vie Scélérate”, Seghers ;“La Vie Sans Fards”, by JC Lattès. Her last novel, entitled “Mets et Merveilles”, was published in 2015 by JC Lattès. The novelist also wrote books for children. She draws her inspiration especially from history and human relationships.
Some eclectic readings
Her readings certainly influenced her writings. Among the works she gave to LAMECA, there are novels, essays, literary criticisms, poetry collections, plays, documentary books and children’s literature books. According to the Caribbean Media Library “Bettino Lara”, this library is partly Maryse Condé’s first library because some books are very old and her maiden name is noted down. The authors that the writer read come from different countries. They are French (Aragon, Simone de Beauvoir, Malraux, Jean-Paul Sartre…), British (William Shakespeare, Thomas Hardy, Oscar Wilde, Virginia Woolf, George Orwell…), American (Washington Irving, Herman Melville Mark Twain, William Faulkner, F. Scott-Fritzgerald, Truman Capote, John Irving…) ; African (Wole Soyinka, Aminata Sow Fall, Mongo Beti, Cheikh Hamidou Kane…) ; Japanese (Fumiko Enchi, Yasunari Kawabata, Sawako Ariyoshi…) ; Caribbean (René Depestre, Jacques Stephen Alexis, VS Naipaul, Édouard Glissant, Sonny Rupaire, Aimé Césaire, Roger Bastide, Alejo Carpentier…).
“Maryse Condé’s Collection” occupies a specific space in the Caribbean Media Library “Bettino Lara” to be easily accessible but to view it, the readers must apply for it and they will be assisted by an employee.