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He was born in Yibuti in 1965. In 1985, he moved to France, where he completed his advanced studies at the University of Bourgogne, and a doctoral thesis on emigrant writers at the Paris-Sorbonne. In 1998, his participation in a literary residency-workshop led him to Rwanda, and from this experience, appeared his work titled Moisson de crânes: Textes pour le Rwanda (2000).
He is an author of novels as well as poetry, and combines his activity as a writer with being a secondary school professor, an editorial advisor specialised in African writers, and a habitual collaborator for Le Monde Diplomatique, as well as other periodic publications. As a writer and literary critic, he frequently participates in international meetings, literary award juries, and other literary activities. Centred on the nomad topic, a title that he also gives himself for "tradition and temperament," his literary work has been awarded on several occasions and translated to German, English, Italian, Serbian and Spanish.
Of his work, the following stand out: The land without shadows (1994), Transit (2003), In the United States of Africa (2006) and Passage des larmes (2009).