Bakwa Books Acquires English Translation Rights for Africa for Hemley Boum’s Les jours viennent et passent.

Hemley Boum. Photo credit: Francesca Mantovani

Bakwa Books has acquired English translation rights for Hemley Boum’s novel, Les jours viennent et passent (Gallimard, 2019), from the Astier-Pécher Literary & Film Agency. Bakwa will thus publish and distribute the English translation of the book in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2022.

In Days Come and Go, three generations of women tell the tormented history of Cameroonian families caught in successive and destructive wars. The novel will be translated by Nchanji Njamnsi (an alumnus of the Literary Translation Workshop organised in Cameroon in 2019 by Bakwa and the University of Bristol).

Hemley Boum grew up in Cameroon and now lives in France with her husband and two children. Her previous novel, Les Maquisards, was praised by critics and won the Prix du livre engagé de la Cene Littéraire in 2016. In 2005, she was awarded the prestigious Grand Prix Littéraire de l’Arique noire.

Commenting on the translation and publication of her book by Bakwa, Hemley Boum states that:

I have long lamented the isolation that the languages in which we write impose within the African literary space. Often, and absurdly so, such isolation prevails within the same country, as is the case with Cameroon. 

The distancing that results therefrom prevents us from pulling our ideas and our experiences together, and forging inclusive and cross-cutting collaborations and projects. It excludes us from an imaginary that inhabits communities within which we have so much in common. We have been cut off from our own, and therefore from a part of ourselves, for too long. Language—meant to be a link, a bridge between beings—becomes a difficult hurdle to overcome, especially in this context.

As such, Bakwa’s project is a magnificent response to this issue. It unlocks paths that should never have been closed and presents an opportunity for a renewed fraternity.

Bakwa’s work is necessary and of the essence in an Africa that, more than ever before, longs to build herself, write herself and portray herself as the subject of her own destiny, and no longer accepts to be relegated to the fringes of a literature that speaks of her but not to her.


About Bakwa Books

Founded in 2018, Bakwa Books is a nonprofit pop-up bookshop and independent publisher of literary fiction, creative nonfiction and translation based in Cameroon. Bakwa Books grew out of Bakwa Magazine, which was founded by Dzekashu MacViban in 2011, to challenge the way creative writing is produced and consumed in Cameroon and on the African continent.

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