From France to Nigeria to Mexico to Panama, author Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio has lived around the world exploring different cultures through art and literature.
His latest stop: North Carolina.
As part of a series of events entitled “Interculturality and the Arts,” Le Clezio, a Nobel laureate, and Mauritian scholar Issa Asgarally are visiting UNC and Duke University to discuss cultural interaction through the humanities.
The first of these visits, Wednesday at UNC’s Sonja Haynes Stone Center, began with book readings and signings by both men, who were accompanied by their wives Jemia Le Clezio and Sarojini Bisseussur-Asgarally.
Le Clezio read excerpts from two of his books in French, while audience members followed along with the English translation printed in the program.
UNC Ph.D. candidate Martha van der Drift, who is writing her dissertation on the writings of Le Clezio, has been facilitating his visit to UNC since November 2011.
“We’ve talked a lot about the idea of interculturality, which is an underlying theme in his works,” van der Drift said, adding that Le Clezio’s desire for all cultures to gain a better understanding of each other inspired her to ask him to visit UNC.
“His style is a storyteller’s style that crosses all cultures in the world and also crosses all social strata,” van der Drift said.
“He lives within these cultures that he writes about, so he’s not necessarily giving us a perspective of a Westerner who goes on vacation somewhere and sees something.