Welcome to the website of the French Institute of South Africa!
Bienvenue sur le site de l'Institut Français d'Afrique du Sud !
This unique literary project comprises a week-long gathering, in the Western Cape, of internationally acclaimed literary voices, for discussion and debate, reading and writing, translation and travelling. It brings about a vibrant space of creativity, interaction and celebration for the participant 'band' of poets, translators, minstrels and musicians. Michel Deguy (philosopher and poet) and Maram Al-Massri (poet and musician) will be guests of honour.
Born in Paris in 1930, French poet and philosopher Michel Deguy prefers to be named a 'writer of poems' or 'the poet I am seeking to be' and his multiform work escapes the straitjacket of classification, combining philosophical thinking, poetry and literary culture. A trained philosopher, Deguy is a thinker-poet.
His ability to bring together poetic practice and theoretical reflection turned him into a major figure on the French intellectual scene in the 1970s. Known for his immense generosity and energy, he has contributed to the development of many French literary and philosophical institutions over the years, and still edits Les Temps Modernes, the journal founded by Jean-Paul Sartre.
Deguy has written more than 30 books published in France and translated into many languages, and has received numerous awards, among them the 1998 Gran Prix National de la poésie, the 2000 Grand Prix de la Société des Gens de Lettres, and the 2004 Grand Prix de poésie de l'Académie Française. He is also active as a translator of, among others, Martin Heidegger, Gongora, Sappho, Dante Alighieri, and various American poets.
Originally from Lattakia in Syria, Maram al-Massri settled in Paris in 1982. She studied English Literature at Damascus University before starting publishing her poetry in Arab magazines in the 1970s. Her work has been awarded many prizes and translated into several languages. Today she is widely considered one of the most captivating feminine voices of her generation.