Nobel laureate Le Clézio explores ‘interculturality’ at UNC and Duke

Jean Marie Le Clezio

Nobel Laureate Jean Marie Le Clézio, the prolific French author, and Dr. Issa Asgarally, the Mauritian cultural scholar and activist, will discuss “Interculturality and the Arts” April 17-19 at a series of events at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University.

Le Clézio and Asgarally co-founded the Foundation for Interculturality and Peace to explore how to promote dialogue across cultural and geographical barriers through the arts and humanities, community engagement and educational curricula.

Both men will be at UNC’s Sonja Haynes Stone Center on April 17 for readings and book-signing (10-11:30 am), roundtable discussions (2-4:30 pm) and the keynote address (6:30-7:30 pm).

On April 18 they will be at Duke University for roundtable discussions and readings (2-4 pm, Franklin Humanities Institute/ Haiti Lab). On April 19, Duke and UNC music faculty will co-host a concert at Duke in their honor  featuring soprano Terry Ellen Rhodes, cellist Fred Raimi and pianist Jane Hawkins (7 pm, Mary Duke Biddle Music Building on Duke’s East Campus). Le Clézio and Asgarally will also visit faculty and students at East Chapel Hill High School.

Issa Asgarally

Schedule and details are online at

Le Clézio , the author of more than 50 books of cultural history and fiction, has lived in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the United States. His ancestors are of French and Mauritian origin. He won his first literary prize, Le Prix Renaudot, when he was 23 years old for Le Procès Verbal (The Interrogation), called an experimental “new novel.” During the 1960s and 1970s, he lived in Mexico while studying and translating ancient Aztec texts. He spent four years in Panama living with the Embera-Wounaan tribes of the Darièn forests. Upon his return to France, he devoted his research to the pre-Hispanic Mesoamerican world. In 1980, he was awarded the Paul Morand prize from L’Académie Française for his novel, Desert. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2008.

Issa Asgarally is a native of Mauritius, an island of ethnic and cultural diversity. He is a professor of linguistics at the Mauritius Institute of Education. He edits the island’s literary magazine, Italiques, contributes regularly to the daily newspaper, L’Express, and hosts the monthly literary television program, Passerelles. He has published 11 books and essays on literature, culture, history and media.