During what has become officially known as the genocide against the Tutsi, as many as one million Rwandan people were brutally massacred between April and July 1994. This book presents a critical study of fictional responses by authors inside and outside Rwanda to the 1994 genocide. Focusing on a large and original corpus of creative writing by African authors, including writers from Rwanda, Rwanda Genocide Stories: Fiction After 1994 examines the positionality of authors and their texts in relation to the genocide. How do issues of ‘ethnicity’, nationality, geographical location and family history affect the ways in which creative writers respond to what happened in 1994? And how do such factors lead to authors and their texts being positioned by others? The book is organized around the principal subject positions created by the genocide, categories that have particular connotations and have become fraught with political tension and ambiguity in the context of post-genocide Rwanda. Through analysis of the figures of tourists, witnesses, survivors, victims and perpetrators, the book identifies the ways in which readers of genocide stories are compelled to reevaluate their knowledge of Rwanda and take an active role in commemorative processes: as self-critical tourists, ethical witnesses, judges or culpable bystanders, we are encouraged to acknowledge and assume our own responsibility for what happened in 1994.
Nicki Hitchcott is Professor in French at the University of St Andrews. Previous books include Calixthe Beyala: Performances of Migration (2000) and (co-edited with Dominic Thomas), Francophone Afropean Literatures (2014), both published by Liverpool University Press.
This book provides a most compelling examination of the link between fictional writing and the memories of a tragedy that ‘cannot be encapsulated in a single narrative’ (p. 158).
Pierre-Philippe Fraiture, French Studies
Rwanda Genocide Stories is an excellent vehicle for bringing a group of largely overlooked writers with varied, complex perspectives on genocide to an English-speaking, academic audience.
David Whitehouse, Francospheres
November 26, 2015
Contemporary French and Francophone Cultures