Announced: The 2016 Puterbaugh Festival featuring Alain Mabanckou, April 6-8

March 4, 2016
by WLT

2016 Puterbaugh Festival featuring Alain Mabanckou

Sponsored by World Literature Today
The University of Oklahoma
Norman, Oklahoma
April 6–8, 2016 

Featuring Francophone Writer Alain Mabanckou 

Norman, OK, March 4, 2016 – Since 1968, World Literature Today—the University of Oklahoma’s award-winning international literary magazine—has sponsored the Puterbaugh Festivals of International Literature & Culture, which have featured many of the world’s most celebrated writers (including seven Nobel Prize winners). The spring 2016 festival, set for April 6–8, will feature novelist, poet, and essayist Alain Mabanckou as well as visiting scholars from the University of Pennsylvania and UCLA. 

Mabanckou (b. 1966) is a prolific francophone poet and novelist who has been called “the African Samuel Beckett” and “a novelist of exuberant originality” for his wordplay, philosophical bent, and sometimes sly and often absurd sense of humor. A French citizen born in the Republic of the Congo, Mabanckou currently lives in LA, where he teaches literature at UCLA. The author of six volumes of poetry and six novels, he is the winner of the Grand Prix de la Littérature 2012 and has received the Sub-Saharan African Literature Prize and the Prix Renaudot. In 2015 Mabanckou was a finalist for the Man Booker International Prize and was recently awarded the prestigious French Voices Grand Prize for 2016. His books in English include African Psycho, Broken Glass, Black Bazaar, Tomorrow I Will Be Twenty, Letter to Jimmy, and The Lights of Pointe-Noire. 

Highlights of the week include poetry readings and a francophone film screening on opening night, public talks by Mabanckou (followed by audience Q&A), lectures by visiting scholars Lydie Moudileno and Dominic Thomas, and roundtable discussions of francophone literature and culture. All events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit


Festival Schedule

Wednesday, April 6

  • Opening Night Reception – Beaird Lounge / Oklahoma Memorial Union – 6:30–8pm
  • French Film: Né quelque part (Homeland), dir. Mohamed Hamidi, 2013, running time 1:27 – Meacham Auditorium / Oklahoma Memorial Union – 8–10pm


Thursday, April 7

  • The Francophone World Workshop Lecture Series – Lydie Moudileno (University of Pennsylvania) and Dominic Thomas (UCLA) – Gould Hall 130 – Noon–1:30pm
  • A Conversation with Alain Mabanckou and Rokiatou Soumaré – Gould Hall 155 – 4:30–6pm


Friday, April 8

  • A Roundtable Discussion of Francophone Literature with Lydie Moudileno, Dominic Thomas, and Michael Winston (University of Oklahoma), moderated by Daniel Simon – Sharp Hall / Catlett Music Center – 9:30–10:30am
  • Alain Mabanckou – The 2016 Puterbaugh Lecture – Sharp Hall / Catlett Music Center – 11am–Noon