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Talks for secondary students

Conversation with Gaël Faye

The French-Burundian rapper and novelist talks with the journalist Xavier Aldekoa

Debate + Education

On the occasion of his literary debut, the rapper Gaël Faye speaks with the journalist Xavier Aldekoa about his life and career which are marked by war in Burundi and exile in France.

Civil war cut short the childhood of Gaël Faye. Born in Burundi with a Rwandan mother and French father, he had to leave his country and move to France at the age of thirteen because of the civil wars which devastated Burundi and Rwanda in the 1990s. In France he discovered rap and took refuge in writing rap songs as a way of dealing with loneliness and understanding himself in his new environment.

Searching for the lost paradise of childhood is one of the central themes of his first novel Small Country (to be published by Hogarth in June 2018) in which he re-creates his childhood in Burundi through the eyes of a boy called Gabriel who leads an ordinary, simple life until his small country is torn apart by war and he is obliged to seek refuge in France.

This novel, acclaimed by critics and winner of the 2016 Prix Goncourt des Lycéens, is inextricably bound with the rap songs Gaël Faye composes in which he also reflects on his mixed identity, the experience of exile, his arrival in France and the absence of the land of his birth. In 2013 he made his debut with a solo album Pili Pili sur un croissant au beurre and has recently presented a second album, Rythmes et botanique (Caroline Records, 2017).

Gaël Faye will speak with the journalist Xavier Aldekoa, correspondent of the daily La Vanguardia in Africa.

Prior registration is required for this activity, which is addressed to school groups.

Participants: Gaël Faye, Xavier Aldekoa

This activity is part of Talks for secondary students,

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Gaël Faye

A Conversation with Xavier Aldekoa

French-Burundian rapper and novelist Gaël Faye speaks with journalist Xavier Aldekoa, Africa correspondent for La Vanguardia. The search for the lost paradise of childhood is one of the central themes of Faye’s first novel Small Country (Hogarth, 2018), in which ...

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