Scholastique Mukasonga, "After Genocide: Writing as Survival"

Tuesday, September 24, 2019, 7 - 8:30pm

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Photo Credit: Jean Yves Desfoux
Photo Credit: Jean Yves Desfoux

“It took me ten years to overcome the guilt of surviving and return to Rwanda, to Nyamata, where my family had been deported in 1960, from where I left for exile in 1973, and where all my loved ones were massacred in April 1994. There I found nothing, not a grave, not a witness – bushes had covered everything. This may be a myth I forged for myself, but I am convinced that my parents chose me for exile not only to save my life, but also to perpetuate their memory. By writing I hope to have accomplished what they expected of me.”--Scholastique Mukasonga

As part of the Fall 2019 Intra-Disciplinary Seminar series, Scholastique Mukasonga delivers a free, public lecture. Born in Rwanda in 1956, Mukasonga experienced from childhood the violence and humiliation of the ethnic conflicts that shook her country. Her family was displaced, and she was later forced to flee to Burundi, then to France, from where she learned that thirty-seven of her family members had been massacred in the 1994 genocide. She published her first book in 2006. Translated into English as Cockroaches, it was named one of the New York Times' 50 best memoirs of the last 50 years. Her first novel, Our Lady of the Nile, won the 2014 French Voices Award and was shortlisted for the 2016 International Dublin Literary award. The Barefoot Woman, her tribute to her mother, was published by Archipelago Books in 2018.

The Fall 2019 IDS Lecture Series at The Cooper Union is organized by Leslie Hewitt and Omar Berrada. The IDS Public Lecture Series is part of the Robert Lehman Visiting Artist Program at The Cooper Union. We are grateful for major funding and support from the Robert Lehman Foundation for the series. The IDS Public Lecture Series is also made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. 

Located in the Frederick P. Rose Auditorium, at 41 Cooper Square (on Third Avenue between 6th and 7th Streets)

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

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