Photo by H. Anenden

Ananda Devi

author, translator

Ananda Devi is a novelist, short-story writer and poet born in Mauritius. Her work has been translated into a dozen languages and she is considered one of the major figures in modern African writing in French. As an ethnologist— she holds a doctorate in social anthropology from the University of London— and a translator, Devi is sensitive to the interconnection between identities and languages. Choosing to write in French, her poems, novels, and short stories also incorporate Creole and Hindi. She lived for many years in London, and in Congo-Brazzaville. She currently lives in Ferney-Voltaire, in France.

Her books published with Editions Gallimard in France include Eve de ses décombres (2006), Indian Tango (2007), Le sari vert (2009), Les hommes qui me parlent (2011), Les jours vivants (2013), and L’ambassadeur triste (2015). Her works available in English translation are Indian Tango (Host Publications, 2011) and Eve Out of Her Ruins (Les Fugitives and Deep Vellum, 2016; Speaking Tiger, 2017), The Living Days (Les Fugitives, 2020; Feminist Press, 2019) and When the Night Agrees to Speak to Me (Harperperennial, 2021; Deep Vellum, 2022). She has published fourteen novels as well as short stories and poetry, and was featured at the PEN World Voices Festival in New York in 2015. Her literary awards include the Prix des Cinq Continents de la Francophonie (2006) and Prix Télévision Suisse Romande (2007) for Ève de ses décombres, as well as the Prix Louis-Guilloux (2010) and the Prix Mokanda (2012) for other works. In 2020 Devi was made an Officier des Arts et des Lettres by the French government and in 2014 she was awarded the Prix du Rayonnement de la langue et de la littérature françaises by the Académie Française. The University of Silesia, Poland, conferred upon her an honorary (a Honoris Causa) doctorate. Her latest novel, Le rire des déesses (2021) won the Prix Femina des Lycéens.