Sami-Tchak-TogoSami Tchak, whose real name is Sadamba Tcha-Koura, was born in Togo in 1960. He studied philosophy and taught it at a high school in Togo for three years. He arrived in France in 1988 and began work on a PhD in Sociology at the Universities of Paris X Nanterre and Paris V – Sorbonne. Also in 1988 the Nouvelles Editions Africaines in Lomé published his first novel,Femme Infidèle, under his real name. After completing his PhD in 1993, he focused his research on female sexuality and related women’s issues in Africa, sexual behaviours and the AIDS crisis on the African continent, amongst others, publishing a number of sociological studies, including an essay Formation d'une élite paysanne au Burkina Faso – Formation of a peasant elite in Burkina Faso. Tchak also published L'Afrique à l'épreuve du sida (Africa confronted by AIDS) in 2000.

 

He then resumed writing fiction under the assumed name Sami Tchak and started to publish with Gallimard, as part as the Continents Noirs (Black Continents) collection. Informed by his insights into social and sexual behaviour, his novels demonstrate how emotions and desires, particularly suppressed feelings influence public and political life. His third novel La fête des masques, is a satire of political and domestic life in an impoverished, presumably African country, only identified as "Ce Qui Nous Sert de Pays," which is ruled by a dictator. Critics have identified references to androgyny, homosexuality and sadomachism in the novel from Proust, Gide and 1980s pop icon, Boy George.

 

In 2004, Sami Tchak won the Grand Prix of Black African Literature for the entire range of his work. The prize is awarded to a writer for the quality of literary production related to political and social issues in Africa. His novels have been translated into Spanish, German and Italian.

 

Select Bibliography

Place des fêtes, Gallimard 2001

Hermina, Gallimard, 2003

La fête des masques, Gallimard, 2004