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Lilyan Kesteloot

Expert in contemporary African literature

Historia de la literatura negroafricana, reference work by Lylian Kesteloot, discusses the history of contemporary African literature, started in the early 30s of the twentieth century with the creation of the Negritude movement by authors such as Senghor in Senegal, Césaire in Martinique or Damas in Guayana. It also deals with the study of the antecedents of these words, including Black American literature by the poets of the Harlem Renaissance in the twenties.

With that book, she makes an analysis on the evolution of African authors and their works, focusing on Francophone literature, but also exploring its connections with the Africo-American world and black African words in other languages.

The writer pays attention to authors that are already considered classics such as Léopold Sédar Senghor, Aimé Césaire, Sembène Ousmane, Emmanuel Dongala or Cheikh Hamidou Kane, but also explores younger voices, presenting a range of recent productions with all their diversity, including the female views and problems of writers like Marise Condé, Fatou Diome or Gisèle Pineau.

Lilyan Kesteloot was born in Belgium. Daughter of a steamboat captain that sailed around the River Congo, Kesteloot took her first steps on its deck. She studied primary and secondary education in the Belgian Congo and obtained a doctorate with her thesis on African literature. She has worked as a teacher in Cameroon, Mali, Ivory Coast, France, Canada and Senegal, where she was a professor at the University of Dakar for many years, reaching the post of Research Director at IFAN (Fundamental Institute of Black Africa).

She has written works not only on written literature but also on African oral tradition, of which she herself highlights:

  • Historia de la Literatura negro africana (Karthala 2001)
  • Las Epopeyas de África negra (Kartala 1997) with Bassirou Dieng (Ucad)
  • Los Escritores negros de lengua francesa (University of Brussels 1963 out of print)
  • La Antología negro africana (Hachette edicef)
  • Kaidara relato iniciativo peul, with  Amadou Hampate Ba
  • La Epopeya Bambara de Ségou
  • La toma de Djonkoloni, with Gérard Dumestre de l’Inalco
  • Dioses de agua del Sahel; viaje a través de los mitos, L’Harmattan (2007)
  • Césaire et Senghor, un pont sur l'Atlantique
  • Les grandes figures de la négritude

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