Abdourahman Waberi is novelist, essayist, poet and short-story writer. He was born in Djibouti in 1965. He studied literature at the université de Bourgogne, France. Waberi worked as a literary Consultant for Editions Le Serpent à plumes, Paris, France, as a literary critic for Le Monde Diplomatique, Paris, France. He has been a member of the International Jury for the Lettre/Ulysses Award for the Art of Reportage (Berlin, Germany), 2003 & 2004. Furthermore Waberi worked as an English teacher at Caen, France. He was awarded with several honors including the Stefan-Georg-Preis 2006, Heinrich-Heine-Universität, the Grand Prix Littéraire de l’Afrique noire 1996 and the Prix biennal « Mandat pour la liberté » – offered by PEN France, 1998. In 2005 he was chosen amongst the “50 Writers of Future” by French literary Magazine “Lire”. He was a DAAD Berliner Kunstlerprogramm in 2006 and lived at Berlin. He is currently a Donald and Susan Newhouse Center Humanities Fellow at Wellesley College, USA. His work is translated into more than ten languages. in 2007 Waberi participated in the Stock Exchange of Visions project … (full text).
He says: “If you are so electrolyzed, if you are so computerized, if you are so dependent on devices and tools, electronic tools, maybe we’ll see people who are more and more sedentary, so less and less nomadic and maybe trying to control everything remotely with a distance, I mean with devices. And then, less and less kissing, less and less hugging, less and less touching which is, for me, a kind of a nightmare because as an African, even as an Arab, I’m used to touch and to feel people. I will imagine some kind of human beings with big cranium, with a big skull and a small body. With less hands, and a big skull … (in stock exchange of visions, 04.06.2007).
Son website en françaishis / his official website in french.
Abdourahman Ali Waberi – Djibouti
Listen to him what he says on (or read the transcript of) some short videos: about technology; about balances; about religion; about cities; about mass media; about water; about globalization; about growth; about evolution.
“Portes d’Afrique”: une opération littéraire et maritime.
He writes: “For almost two hundred years now, since the defeat of Napolean III., the collapse of the colonial empire and the ensuing hegemony of the United States, sweet ‘ole France is really very tiny. This country has become a trusted landscape for me. I study the natives in their natural environment. However formidable, the major difference between me and professional anthropologists is that I don’t work for any investigative institution, but instead do it at my own expense. My moneybag suffers because of it, but who really cares. In Africa, investigations and apprenticeships are devaluated to such an extent that mothers already begin to worry about their daughter’s future as soon as they are old enough to marry, telling their admirers, “Hey, you! Go work or teach!” … (full text).
French-speaking Africa has produced a constellation of phantom writers who live in Western Europe and primarily write for — some say cater to — a Western readership. The most prolific Guinean writer, Tierno Monénembo, lives and writes in France, as do the novelists Abdourahman A. Waberi of Djibouti; Fatou Diome of Senegal; and Henri Lopes of the Congo Republic, who has also been Brazzaville’s ambassador to several European countries … (full long text, 4 pages).
Abdourahman A. Waberi is among the writers who have joined UNESCO in its fight against illiteracy. Here is an extract from his text on the subject to be published by the Organization in its forthcoming book “The Alphabet of Hope”. (UNESCO).
He says also: “People will need religion of course, to live. Because religion is kind of… you cannot get rid of it, you know? Because when man appeared on Earth he was haunted by philosophical questions: where I’m from? Where I’m going to? What will be tomorrow? So, religion is needed but maybe there is, with the connection, maybe there will be a development of more personal religions. I think that maybe people will have, or at least I hope, they will have a more personal link to the god or the divinity of their choice. At least, in areas where people are linked, informed, are educated, they will have more personal demand, more personal religious demand than nowadays” … (in stock exchange of religion, 04.06.2007).
… Scarred by the lacerations and drifts of black Africa, Waberi’s literature is free and rich in metaphors. The fable borders on fierce political critique and the fictional works are part of the tradition of poetic productions soaked in the atmosphere and landscapes of the Horn of Africa … (full text).
(In english) translated works: The Land Without Shadows (short-story collection), translated by Jeanne Garane, prefaced by Nuruddin Farah, University Press of Virginia, 2005; In The United States of Africa (novel), translation by David and Nicole Ball, University Press of Nebraska (forthcoming in 2008). (wikipedia).
About some of his books:
The Land without Shadows.
List of many poets classed by language alphabetical order;
Category: Somali people stubs on wikipedia;
Writer’s project: Rwanda: To write against oblivion;