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Writing the Child, Youth, and Violence into the Francophone Novel from Sub-Saharan Africa: The Impact of Age and Gender

How do women and men think about and represent the child, youth, and violence in francophone African literature today? This question, which I would like to explore in this article, was initially sparked by the observation of two concurrent features in the novel of the past decade: (1) the re-emergence of the child character or/and child voice within a new context, that of violence, and (2) the prevalence of representations of female youth within a violent postcolonial urban landscape. This observation triggered further questions: why and how children are now portrayed as directly part of a process of violence and, at times, were the voices of violence2 ; why, it seems, do women writers choose to focus on youth and violence.2

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