Café Césaire is a new monthly forum for Francophone readers and writers, with the inaugural meeting taking place from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 30, at International House, 10 College Park in Davis.
The goal of Café Césaire is to explore the French language’s many forms and voices, from Africa, Asia, the Americas, the Middle East, Europe and France itself. The goal is to enjoy literature, poetry, film, theater and art en français. Café Césaire also invites participants to share their own creative endeavors and experiences in and with the French language.
Café Césaire is the creation of Krystyna von Henneberg, a private language teacher, editor and translator specializing in French, Italian, Spanish and English. Trained at Harvard and UC Berkeley, von Henneberg also is a historian specializing in modern European and world history. She teaches a Thursday French class at I-House, and is co-organizer of Davis Reads, an annual citywide community book project based at the Stephens Branch Library.
Café Césaire is open to everyone but “it will be most enriching to those with advanced French speaking and reading skills,” von Henneberg said. “French is a global force for creativity and exchange,” she added.
“Some 29 countries around the world count French as their official language. Café Césaire embraces the following credos:
“1) French is a living, breathing language that belongs to all those who speak and write it;
“2) French is enriched by contact with other cultures and languages; and
“3) the Francophone world is home to many original voices that can help deepen our understanding of the world, and of each other.”
She added that Aimé Césaire (1913-2008) was a distinguished poet, playwright and statesman from the Caribbean island of Martinique. Born 100 years ago in what was then a French colony, Césaire helped forge a new, inclusive literary movement called Négritude.
His work addressed the contradictions of French colonialism, and the hopes and humanity of people throughout the Francophone world. His writing stands at the crossroads of three continents: the Americas, Europe and Africa.
“International House and the city of Davis attract vibrant readers, writers, artists and scientists from all over the Francophone world, as well as devotees of the French language here in the U.S.,” von Henneberg said. “Café Césaire’s aim is to embark on a project of global cultural exploration and mutual exchange.”
For more information, contact her at [email protected].