Join us for an evening with Congolese writer Fiston Mwanza Mujila, author of Tram 83, and the novel’s translator Roland Glasser. Fiston will read in French, Roland in English. They will discuss the novel and answer questions from the audience. We’ll also enjoy live jazz music from saxophonist Chris Hall.
Two friends, one a budding writer home from Europe, the other an ambitious racketeer, meet in the only nightclub, the Tram 83, in a war-torn city-state in secession, surrounded by profit-seekers of all languages and nationalities. Tram 83 plunges the reader into the modern African gold rush as cynical as it is comic and colorfully exotic, using jazz rhythms to weave a tale of human relationships in a world that has become a global village. Tram 83 is Fiston Mwanza Mujila’s first novel. It has won numerous literary prizes in France and Austria, and has been translated into six languages.
Fiston Mwanza Mujila was born in 1981 in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo, where he went to a Catholic school before studying Literature and Human Sciences at Lubumbashi University. He now lives in Graz, Austria and is pursuing a PhD in Romance Languages & Literatures. His writing has been awarded with numerous prizes, including the Gold Medal at the 6th Jeux de la Francophonie in Beirut, as well as the Best Text for Theater (“Preis für das beste Stück”) at the State Theater in Mainz, Austria in 2010. His poems, prose works, and plays are reactions to the political turbulence that has come in the wake of the independence of the Congo and its effect on day-to-day life. As he describes in one of his poems, his texts describe a “geography of hunger”: a hunger for peace, freedom, and bread. His texts have been published in the original French and in translation in many journals and anthologies in several European countries, and he has been performing at readings and festivals since 2002.
Roland Glasser translates literary and genre fiction from French, as well as art, travel, and assorted non-fiction. He studied theater, cinema, and art history in the UK and France, and has worked extensively in the performing arts, chiefly as a lighting designer. He is a French Voices award winner and serves on the Committee of the UK Translators Association. Having lived in Paris for many years, he is currently based in London.
Chris Hall started playing the saxophone when he was in 7th grade and taught himself the clarinet the summer before high school. By his senior year, he’d made the Colorado All-State Symphony and All-State Concert Band, both on clarinet, and was a part of the National Youth Choir that performed at Carnegie Hall in New York. Following high school, he joined the Army Band where he played all kinds of instruments with the 323rd Army MEDCOM Band stationed at Ft. Sam Houston. He currently works full-time in web development, while also playing saxophone with La Vida Buena (Salsa Band in Austin), The Tailpipes (Oldies Band in San Antonio), The Inverters (Ska Band in Austin), Kerosene Drifters (Rock/Blues/Country Band in San Antonio), and, of course, the Chris Hall Trio.
This book tour has been arranged with the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States.