Skip to content
Join us on October 27 at 7PM EDT for the 2020 WWB Virtual Gala. Learn more and get your tickets today!

May 2012

Writing from the Indian Ocean

Image: Eric Rakoto, The Great Worker (detail), 2012, acrylic, 100"x100"

This month we spotlight writing from the islands of Mauritius, Reunion, Madagascar, and Mayotte.  Francophone writing in the region dates back to the eighteenth century; the coexistence of French with the area's other languages (Creole, Malagasy, Arabic, and Hindi), and its relationship to French colonialism, inflect writers' thematic, stylistic, and syntactic choices.  See how J. William Cally, Ananda Devi, Nassuf Djailani, Michel Ducasse, Boris Gamaleya, Alain Gordon-Gentil, Carpanin Marimoutou and Françoise Vergès, Esther Nirina, Barlen Pyamootoo, Jean-Luc Raharimanana, and Umar Timol imaginatively engage with this complex heritage. We thank our guest editor, Françoise Lionnet, for assembling this fine collection. Elsewhere, Mauritian writer Nathacha Appanah joins Etgar Keret and Wojciech Jagielski in writing from cities not their own. And we deliver the third installment of Sakumi Tamaya's “Hole in the Garden.”

Insularity, Mobility, and Imagination: Writing from the Indian Ocean

Francophone writing in the Mascarene region dates back to the eighteenth century.

The Iron Caterpillar

He had the sense of a giant creature slithering within the tunnel.

Center of Flacq

Flacq during the day is nothing more than a vast market; buy, sell, pound the pavements, work the sidewalks.

Diary of an Old Mad Woman

So you come from there, it must be so beautiful so wonderful; why do you live here when your island is so lovely.


Traces of Our Fathers

The prairies of Brittany have sugarcane in their memory.

Weaving Dreams

She answered, listening to the detailed instructions of the fabric against her skin.


Isle Say Blood

always the sea always / shameful the shameful ocean / bodies battered before touching the shore


The Crossing toward Hope

It’s raining bullets over Mutsamudu.


But Your Eyes

Smooth is the beach / Like the arch of my entrance / Refusing your doors.

The Sea Horses’ Ball

The plane crashes . . . on the island of troubling roosters.

Moorings: Indo-oceanic Creolizations

The horizon which traces a curved line—not a straight one as in the North—is the metaphor for our position.



Now chant. / Dêmos / Kratos



The gecko got it right



Book Reviews

Adania Shibli’s “We Are All Equally Far from Love”

Reviewed by Emma Garman

"We Are All Equally Far From Love" is hypnotically visceral in its accrual of mundane details

Recent Issues

Who Writes Peru: Asian Peruvian Writers

The Indigenous Writing Project: Contemporary Guaraní Poetry

The Queer Issue XI

The Center of the World: Writing from Cabo Verde

Child's Play: International Children's Literature

Against the Canon: Urdu Feminist Writing

International Graphic Novels: Volume XIV

On the Road: International Writing on Travel

Like what you read? Help WWB bring you the best new writing from around the world.