Biography of Mariama Bâ

Mariama Bâ was a Senegalese francophone author, teacher, and feminist who was born in Dakar to a well-off Muslim family. A feminist, she began to criticize gender inequality in African society from a young age, while being raised in a very traditional household and having to fight to gain an education. As she grew older, she became involved in women's organizations and advocated for social change in Africa as well as women's education. She married but then divorced a member of the Senegalese parliament, caring for their nine children as a result. This tumultuous life and struggle with tradition are well represented in So Long A Letter (1979), her first novel, which won the Noma Award for Publishing in Africa.

Tragically, Bâ died a year later after suffering from illness, before her second novel, Scarlet Song, could be published.

Study Guides on Works by Mariama Bâ

Scarlet Song is a novel by notable author Mariama Bâ published in 1986 (2 years after her death). The novel, about a couple with ethical and cultural differences, garnered international and critical attention, and was nominated for a number of...

So Long a Letter is a semi-autobiographical novel written in letter format by Mariama Bâ. It is a staple of classic women's literature classes, and also won the Noma Prize for Publishing in Africa in 1980.

The novel centers around the theme of...