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Interview: Seven questions to Clarisse Nomaye, Lawyer and Writer from Chad

Clarisse Nomaye is an inspiring personality and a woman of many careers. She is one of the leading figures in Chadian literature and is renowned for her writing on behalf of women's rights in Chad.

2. How did you get into writing?

It's a passion that I've always had since childhood. Already in the fifth grade I was part of the school newspaper team. We used to write about all the activities that took place in our school. I continued later by writing and sending stories to local newspapers and radio stations such as Africa Numero1 through Patrick Nguemadong's programme, « L’Aventure Mystérieuse ». In 2012, I published my first novel L'amitié sans frontière in France. The craze around this novel encouraged me to keep going. I currently have five published works and I don't intend to stop.

 

3. In 2020 you won the Chadian Women's Literature Prize for your work Prisonnière (Prisoner – free translation). This prize is a real recognition of your talent. What do you want to convey in your works?

The main message is violence against women (physical and moral) and its consequences. There are behaviours that society considers normal. For society, women must observe without debate. There are women who accept and live with it. Others find it difficult and see it as an injustice to them that can lead to actions with irreversible consequences. This is the main message in a nutshell.

It is not easy to be a woman or a girl in our society (...) but we know that we, women have the capacity to achieve great things when we put our minds to it.

4. You are also President of the Chadian Writers Association, can you tell us about the current Chadian literary landscape?

Chadian literature is young. Before 2000, only a few Chadians wrote. Now, more and more people are producing works. This is an asset for us. We still have to make a lot of effort in terms of quality to be competitive on an international level.

 
5. How can literature be better promoted among young people?

I believe that public reading sessions, radio and TV programmes, competitions on literary works and their authors, writing competitions should be organised. We need to involve young people through technological means of communication and other activities.

 

6. Is writing an act of emancipation for you?

Yes, because first of all by reading a lot (because before writing you have to read) you have a more open mind because you have travelled and learnt a lot through books. Secondly, by writing you can say things that are difficult to say directly because you often don't have the right audience. Finally, writing helps you to get out of your own circle, to be free enough to make choices.

 

7. What advice would you give to Chadian women and girls who want to start writing?

You have to read a lot, work and spend time on it. It is not easy to be a woman or a girl in our society with the weight of tradition, household duties, profession (for some) but we know that we women have the capacity to achieve great things when we put our minds to it. So, I encourage them to embark on this exciting adventure and I know that they will never stop.

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