Essential Encounters

  • Author: Thérèse Kuoh-Moukoury
  • Translator: Cheryl Toman
  • Pages: xxxiv & 60 pp.
  • Published: 2002
  • ISBN: 9780873527941 (Paperback)
Essential Encounters Cover
Paperback ($6.95)

“This wonderful short novel is an ideal introduction to francophone literature and culture for both undergraduate and graduate students. It is very readable and offers a useful perspective on race and gender in the late colonial period.”

—Françoise Lionnet, author of Autobiographical Voices and Postcolonial Representations

Published in 1969, Essential Encounters is the first novel by a woman of sub-Saharan francophone Africa. Thérèse Kuoh-Moukoury, of Cameroon, wrote it “to inspire other women to write.” Its story of love, infertility, a failed marriage, and adultery looks at both interpersonal connections and national politics from a feminist perspective.

In the introduction the volume editor, Cheryl Toman, provides valuable background with a discussion of African matriarchy, past and present; ethnic groups in Cameroon; interracial relationships; and polygamy as it affects women’s roles in the family and their interaction with one another.

Thérèse Kuoh-Moukoury (b. 1938) is a novelist, journalist, children’s rights lawyer, and activist who is committed to the cause of African women. Currently she divides her time between Paris and Cameroon and is working on her second novel, based on the life of the political martyr Alexandre Douala Manga Bell.