The African Child (French: L'Enfant noir) is an autobiographical French novel by Camara Laye published in 1953.[1] It tells the story of a young African child, Baba, growing up in Guinea. The novel won the Prix Charles Veillon writing prize.

The African Child
First English-language edition
AuthorCamara Laye
TranslatorJames Kirkup
Publication date
Published in English
1954, Farrar, Straus & Giroux

It was translated into English by James Kirkup and Ernest Jones and published in the United States by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 1954 as The Dark Child. In the United Kingdom, this translation was published under the title The African Child in 1959.[2]

It was adapted into a movie called L'Enfant noir in 1995.[3] Many of the cast in the film were relatives of Laye.[4]

The scenes early in the novel, when the young narrator witnesses his father working with gold, have drawn considerable critical attention for their spiritual overtones,[5] but also because of the importance of the douga, the song and dance begun by the griot when the work is complete.[6]

Publication history edit

  • The Dark Child: The Autobiography of an African Boy (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1954)
  • The African Child (London: Fontana, 1959)

References edit

  1. ^ Prima Birungi. "The African Child (by Camara Laye)". Africa Book Club.
  2. ^ Birch, Dinah; Hooper, Katy (2013). The Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature. OUP Oxford. p. 108. ISBN 9780191036743. Retrieved June 11, 2020.
  3. ^ "L'enfant Noir: Un long-métrage de Laurent Chevallier: Dossier Pédagogique" (PDF). (in French). Retrieved 1 October 2015.
  4. ^ "The Dark Child by Camara Laye" (PDF). Literary Cavalcade. April 2004. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
  5. ^ Ada Uzoamaka Azodo (1994). "The Work in Gold as Spiritual Journey in Camara Laye's The African Child". Journal of Religion in Africa. 24 (1): 52–61. JSTOR 1581374.
  6. ^ Esonwanne, Uzo (1993). "The Nation as Contested Referent". Research in African Literatures. 24 (4): 49–62.