Monday, October 13, 2008
The Nobel Prize, and Mauritius
It's great news that the Nobel Prize for Literature should have gone to a Mauritian - Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio. At the moment, all the coverage is reading him as a French writer - but in his interviews he is always very clear that he is every bit as Mauritian as he is French, and that he is very sympathetic to the disappearing lifestyles of the island culture. This is very heartening for me - I have strong family links to Mauritius, and our productions of Toufann, Mappa Mundi and Twelfth Night were all in some way related to that extraordinary, vital and diverse culture. It's also great that Le Clézio is talking so clearly about ecological agendas in writing, about the value of other ways of living and seeing, about what we can learn from First Nations (as well as Mauritius and France, he also lives in New Mexico!). Whether this will mean a sudden surge of interest in Mauritian literature (or even theatre) I somehow doubt - but at least it's a sign of a growing sense that the apparently marginal in terms of the global economy may be central in terms of cultural regeneration.