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Alain Ricard (1945-2016)

Alain Ricard passed away on Saturday, August 27, 2016. He was a dear friend a colleague who will be missed by everyone who had the honor of sharing his passion for ideas, travel, friendship, Africa, literature, theater and so much more.

Alain Ricard (1945-2016) was a research professor (directeur de recherche) with the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) with LAM (Les Afriques dans le monde; Africas in the World). His area of specialization was African languages and literatures, including drama and popular literatures. He was one of the founding members of APELA (Association pour l’étude des littératures africaines/Association for the study of African literatures) and was the association’s president from 2010-2013. He taught at the University in Lomé and was a researcher in residence with the Togolese National Theater Ensemble in 1985, while also a scholar associated with the IRD in Lomé. From 1989 to 1992, Ricard was the director of the French Institute for Research in Africa in Nairobi. His book Littératures d'Afrique noire: des langues aux livres ( Paris: Karthala/CNRS, 1995; in English translation, Oxford/Trenton/Cape Town: James Currey/Africa World Press/Dave Philip, 2004) is a general work on African literatures and the interface between oral and written expression. His other books include: Théâtre et nationalisme: Wole Soyinka et Le Roi James (Paris: Présence Africaine, 1972; in English translation, University of Ife Press, 1983); Livre et communication au Nigéria: Essai de vue généraliste (Paris: Présence Africaine, 1975); Mister Tameklor, suivi de Francis-le-Parisien, par le Happy Star Concert Band de Lomee with N. Akam (Paris: SELAF, 1981); L'invention du théâtre: le théâtre et les comédiens en Afrique noire (Lausanne: L’Age d’homme, 1986); Naissance du roman africain, Félix Couchoro (Paris: Présence Africaine, 1987); Wole Soyinka ou l’ambition démocratique (Paris/Lomé: Silex/Nouvelles éditions africaines, 1988); West African Popular Theater with Karin Barber and J.Collins (Bloomington/Oxford: Indiana University Press/James Currey, 1997); Ebrahim Hussein, théâtre swahili et nationalisme tanzanien (Paris: Karthala, 1998); in English translation, Dar-es-Salaam, Mkuki na Nyota Publishers, 2000) Le Campus (Bordeaux: Editions Confluences, 1999); edited volume, Voyages de découvertes en Afrique (Paris: Laffont, 2000); edited volume Excursion missionnaire dans les Montagnes bleues by Thomas Arbousset, including a Notice sur les Zulus, which presents the first recorded transcription and translation of a Zulu praise poem (Paris/Johannesburg: Karthala/ IFAS, 2000); Hawaii (Paris: Karthala, 2001); La Formule Bardey: voyages africains (Bordeaux: Editions Confluences, 2005); Histoire des littératures de l’Afrique subsaharienne (Paris: Ellipses, 2006); Le Kiswahili, une langue moderne (Paris: Karthala, 2009); Le Sable de Babel, traduction et apartheid (Paris: CNRS éditions, 2011); Wole Soyinka et Nestor Zinsou: de la scène à l’espace public (Paris: Karthala, 2015); et, Demeurer catholique… Vers un christianisme générique (Paris: Le Square éditeur, 2015). In addition, Alain Ricard contributed to a dozen collaborative works and published widely in reviews, journals and encyclopedias on African literature. He contributed to five films and was a literary consultant for the first documentary on Wole Soyinka, poète citoyen (ARTE, 1992) and was literary advisor to the Fondation Dapper.

Submitted by Phyllis Taoua.

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