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René Maran-1930.jpg

René Maran (Fort-de-France, Martinique, 8 November 1887 - 9 May 1960) was a French Guyanese poet and novelist, and the first black writer to win the French Prix Goncourt (in 1921).


Born on the boat carrying his parents to Fort-de-France where he lived till the age of seven. After that he went to Gabon, where his father Héménéglide Maran was in the colonial service. After attending boarding school in Bordeaux, France, he joined the French Colonial service in French Equatorial Africa. It was his experience there that was the basis for many of his novels, including Batouala: A True Black Novel, which won the Prix Goncourt.[1]

Jean-Paul Sartre alluded to Maran in his preface to Frantz Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth, mocking the French establishment's complacent self-congratulation that they had "on one occasion given the Prix Goncourt to a Negro".[2]

Selected works

  • La Maison du Bonheur (poetry, 1909)
  • La Vie Intérieure (poetry, 1912)
  • Batouala (novel, 1921)
  • Le Livre de la Brousse (novel, 1934)
  • Un Homme pareil aux autres (novel, 1947)

Further reading

  • Cameron, Keith (1985). René Maran. Boston: Twayne Publishers. ISBN 0-8057-6604-9.
  • Cook, Mercer (October 1940). "The Literary Contribution of the French West Indian". The Journal of Negro History (Vol. 25, No. 4): 520–530. doi:10.2307/2715140. ISSN 0022-2992. JSTOR 2715140.
  • Ojo-Ade, Femi. René Maran, the Black Frenchman: A Bio-Critical Study, Three Continents Press, Washington, 1984, 265 p.
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  1. Scheifley, William H. (March 3, 1922). "The Book Table: The Goncourt Prize". The Outlook. Outlook Publishing Company, Inc. 130: 433–434. Retrieved 2009-07-30.
  2. Sartre, Jean-Paul (1961). The Wretched of the Earth. |access-date= requires |url= (help)

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