New Edition : « Bitako-a »


In « Rééditer les grands textes littéraires en langue créole, » Montray Kreyol writes about a new edition of Raphaël Confiant’s Bitako-a (first published in 1985), and about the importance of continuing the important project of reproducing a corpus of well-known works written in Creole. Here is an article from Montray Kreyol :

Published in 1985, Bitako-a, the third book entirely in Creole by Raphaël CONFIANT, has been republished this year, 2018, thirty-three years later. At the time of its publication, Creole was still held outside the school system and there was no Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Creole at our university. And having CAPES [exams] of Creole was, at the time, unimaginable. That is to say that this novel had not been successful due to the lack of readers and reviews in media outets. In short, Creole-speaking literature did not exist! [This was the case] although, before Confiant, authoritative writers such as Gilbert GRATIANT, Marie-Thérèse LUNG-FOU, or Georges MAUVOIS (to speak only of Martinique) had already published books entirely in Creole.

Three decades later, the literary landscape has completely changed. The Créolité Movement—Jean BERNABE, Patrick CHAMOISEAU, Raphaël CONFIANT and their famous manifesto, Eloge de la créolité (1989) came to shake the Martinican literary landscape, but also, more broadly, the Caribbean. Creolization theories by Edouard GLISSANT have had a worldwide impact. In the meantime, the teaching of Creole took off first in the university, then in secondary education and later, in primary school. Admittedly, this is only optional, which gathers only about 30% of Martinican students (as compared to 67% in Guadeloupe), but something has become unhindered as to the relationship we have with our mother tongue.

If the work of Creole activists (Association Bannzil kréyol, Dikté kréyol, etc.) has contributed significantly to these advances, that of publishers is equally important, thanks to the publication of comic books in Creole. The publisher Caraibéditions, among others, played a considerable role at this level. Otherwise, at the level of radio (non-commercial radio, especially) and television (especially private), Creole has managed to forge a significant place, even if the quality of the language used leaves much to be desired.

Here is the moment for Creole books to be reissued! What better sign of the vitality of this type of book than the fact that they are putting them back on the market, whereas before, they were neatly stored on library shelves while waiting for improbable readers. But the reissue of Bitako-a three decades later is a momentous event, thanks to the preface by the late Jean BERNABE. With a good fifty pages, which is rare for a preface, it is the ultimate academic work. It is the latest scientific reflection of the founder of GEREC [Groupe d’Etudes et de Recherches en Espace Créole (Group of Studies and Research in Creole Space)] in the framework of the Université des Antilles-Guyane and of the Caribbean, which considers the various problems that arise in the emergence of a complete Creole-speaking literature. A valuable tool for academics, it is even more important for students studying for the Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Creole, which explains its publication in the Collection “U” (for University) of Caraibéditions.

This reissue is also a tribute to the father of Creole Studies in our countries…

Article above translated by Ivette Romero. For original article (in French), see

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