Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

April 10, 2003

Feminist Author from Cameroon to Read at Whitworth

Whitworth will host a reading by author Thérèse Kuoh-Moukoury, the first woman to publish a novel in sub-Saharan Francophone Africa. The reading will take place on Wednesday, April 23, at 8 p.m. in the Music Building Recital Hall at Whitworth. Admission is free. For more information, please call (509) 777-4484.

Inspired by her grandmother, who founded one of the first schools for girls in her home country of Cameroon, Kuoh-Moukoury was sent to Paris at the age of 12 to complete her studies. She published her ground-breaking novel, Rencontres essentielles (Essential Encounters), in 1956. The book was recently translated and published in English (MLA Texts and Translations Series, 2002, translated by Cheryl Toman). Kuoh-Moukoury says she wrote the book "to inspire other women to write." A tale of love, infertility, adultery and failed marriage, Rencontres essentielles deals with the painful transition in Cameroon from rural matriarchal traditions to contemporary urban society.

Kuoh-Moukoury has since published numerous poems, short stories, and journal articles in addition to her acclaimed sociological essay, Couples Dominos: aimer dans la difference (Julliard, 1973), in which she presents perspectives on the dynamics of bi-racial couples. Her newest book is the forthcoming Profil d'un homme: Alexandre Douala Manga Bell (Profile of a Man: Alexandre Douala Manga Bell), which is based on the true story of one of Cameroon's most intriguing political and historical figures.

In addition to her work as a writer, Kuoh-Moukoury conducted a successful law career during which she focused on the area of children's rights. She is also a well-traveled journalist and activist who served as the president of the Union des femmes africaines et malgaches (Union of African and Malagasy Women). Kuoh-Moukoury lives in Paris and Cameroon, where she devotes time to writing and lecturing.

Kuoh-Moukoury's visit is sponsored by Whitworth's Women's Studies Program and Speakers & Artists Program, and by the Hewlett Foundation. During her visit to Spokane, Kuoh-Moukoury will also speak at a YWCA luncheon.

Contacts:

Carol Smucker, associate professor of French, Department of Modern Languages, Whitworth College, (509) 777-4484 or csmucker@whitworth.edu.

Julie Riddle, public information specialist, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3729 or jriddle@whitworth.edu.

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