Kingué discusses African Francophone identity

Emily Craig, Assistant News Editor

Renowned author from Bucknell University, Angèle Kingué, visited Saint Anselm College last week to share her experiences with identity and how that has influenced her writing. During her presentation, Kingué spoke about “growing up as a Francophone African woman and how this multilingual, multicultural background has impacted her life, her work, and her writing.”

The event, titled African or Francophone: A Life of Many Tongues, was co-sponsored by the Multicultural Center, the History Department, the English Department, and the College Writing Program.

Professor Anne Thenin of the Modern Languages Department at Saint Anselm asked Kingué what made her leave her home and begin to travel around the world. Although the question was asked and answered in French, Kingué did not hesitate to translate it for those among the crowd who are unfamiliar with the language.

Kingué said, “It’s my brothers. I’m the youngest of five and they all studied abroad. That was, you know… if you wanted something bigger and better, you went away.”

Similarly, in a Q&A hosted by Bucknell, Kingué shares why she was inspired, “as a young person from Cameroon, to move out into the world.”

“Reading stories,” said Kingué. “What got me curious were stories about people, imagining what that world was like. I grew up in a world where education mattered, so it was one door that opens another one, then opens another one. When it came time to study more, going abroad was a way to go beyond, to go to the next level. There’s nothing like immersion. You can’t run away. You find a way.”

Crier\Tim Mannila
Renowned author from Bucknell University, Angèle Kingué.

Kingué has published two novels, Venus of Khala-Kanti and Pour que ton ombre murmure encore, as well as two Young Adult novels and a children’s book. Her children’s book, Qui est dans la lune?, was published in French, English and four Cameroonian languages.

Kingué finished her presentation by reading an excerpt from Venus of Khala-Kanti, in which a mother fights for her daughter’s life. The novel was first written in French and later translated to English in 2015.

As a French studies professor, Kingué’s “goal in teaching Francophone Africa is to draw students into elemental and captivating discussions about peoples and realities that at first seem to be far removed from their own immediate experiences.” Kingué explains on the Bucknell University website that she seeks to employ the principle that “all communication is a product of human imagination” not only in her own life, but also in her work at the university.

A West African native, Dr. Kingué received her Bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Yaoundé in Cameroon. She later moved to Britain to study Applied Linguistics for her Master’s, and eventually received her Ph.D. in French-Foreign Language Pedagogy and Second Language Acquisition from Pennsylvania State University.