Condé's novels explore racial, gender and cultural issues in a variety of historical eras and locales, including the Salem witch trials in I, Tituba: Black Witch of Salem (1986); the 19th-century Bambara Empire of Mali in Segu (1980); and the 20th-century building of the Panama Canal and its influence on increasing the West Indian middle class in "The tree of Life" (1992). Her novels trace the relationships between African peoples and the diaspora, especially the Caribbean. She has taken considerable distance from most Caribbean literary movements, such as Negritude and Creolité, and has often focused on topics with strong feminist concerns. A radical activist in her work as well as in her personal life, Condé has admitted: "I could not write anything... unless it has a certain political significance. I have nothing else to offer that remains important." Her recent writings have become increasingly autobiographical, such as Memories of My Childhood and Victoire, a biography of her grandmother. Who Slashed Celanire's Throat also shows traces of Condé's paternal great-grandmother.
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