Digital Obsolescence? Abandoned blogs in the francophone African literary field

Kristen Stern


This essay analyzes the blogs or websites of three francophone African writers: Alain Mabanckou, Léonora Miano, and Bessora, who at one time all had active blogs or websites related to their creative work. Digital spaces are still comparatively marginalized in the Francophone literary field when compared with institutions such as historically established publishing houses, literary prizes, and even geographical centers of the literary arts. In this transitional moment between traditional and digital modes of production, African writers working in French often embrace new creative platforms without turning their backs on the old. At times, they even leave the digital behind for historically established codes and forms, abandoning online spaces as they gain footholds in the Parisian-centered literary industry. Of the writers considered here, Bessora is the only one who still maintains her blog. Mabanckou’s online presence has shifted to other platforms like Instagram and Twitter, with more promotional (as opposed to aesthetic) motivations, while Miano has largely gone silent from the spaces she once occupied. Specifically for African writers working in French, I posit that their different, evolving uses of digital platforms reflect their rising relative positions in the literary field in French.


Mabanckou; Bessora; Miano; author blogs

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