Karim Miské, Acclaimed Author, Discusses His Work with Stanford Community
Internationally acclaimed French-Mauritanian author, Karim Miské, discusses his work with Stanford community
This May, French-Mauritanian author Karim Miské met with members of the Stanford community. Faculty, students, and community members had the opportunity to view his recent documentary, Jews and Muslims: Intimate Strangers, and read from his novels, his award-winning debut novel Arab Jazz, and his autobiographical essay N’appartenir.
They join Miské to discuss his work.
His visit marked the long-standing collaboration between the French and Italian Department, the Taube Center for Jewish Studies, and the cultural services of the French Consulate in San Francisco.
Widely admired on the Francophone scene for his documentaries, Karim Miské grew up in France and studied journalism in Dakar, Sénégal. Karim made his first documentary in 1988, Economie de la débrouille à Nouakchott (1988). Since then, he has directed films on Muslims in France, the Crusades, neo-fundamentalism in Islam, Christianity and Judaism, and the world of the deaf.
His latest book, set in Paris and in the synagogues of New York, won an English PEN award. It was highly praised by The Guardian:
“This is a brilliant debut, both from Karim Miské and Sam Gordon, the very capable translator. The setting – “between the Lubavitch school complex, the Salafist prayer room and the evangelical church” in north-east Paris, home turf of the Charlie Hebdo and kosher supermarket killers – couldn’t be more topical. […] Arab Jazz is a genre novel in the same way that Pulp Fiction is a genre film – superseding the form even as it pays homage. It is a transcontinental identity novel, too, dramatizing the painful contradictions and fertile syntheses of contemporary multicultural life, focusing on racial discrimination in Morocco as well as Paris.”
Stanford students and faculty from a diverse cultural background participated in discussions with the author in a classroom on Francophone literature, in a lunch with undergraduate students, in the annual French fest organized by the French instructors of the Language Center, and a dinner at the Maison Française.
Lecturer in French and Francophone Studies, Marie-Pierre Ulloa explains the significance of bringing Miské into the classroom. "Hosting Karim Miské was a unique opportunity to expose students to unfamiliar and captivating storytelling. His work shows how documentaries and detective novels are not only pure entertainment but also receptacles of memory where multiple identity negotiations occur. It is highly rewarding for students and teachers alike.”
Relevant URL (book page, news article, award announcement, etc.)