Maryse Condé was born in Guadeloupe in the French Caribbean. She studied at the Université de Paris III (Sorbonne Nouvelle), where she took her doctorate in Comparative Literature (1975). Her research was on Black stereotypes in Caribbean literature. For twelve years, she lived in West Africa : Guinea , Ghana , Senegal , where she taught French at various levels. She returned to France in 1973 to teach Francophone Literature at Paris VII (Jussieu), X ( Nanterre ), and III (Sorbonne Nouvelle). Early in her career, she tried her hand at dramatic writing but took to the novel in 1976, producing Heremakhonon inspired by events of her life in West Africa . It was not until her third novel published in 1984, Ségou I, Les Murailles de Terre, II, La Terre en Miettes that she established her pre-eminent position among contemporary Caribbean writers. Since then, she has published regularly (ten novels to date) while continuing an academic career which brought her to UC Berkeley, the University of Virginia, the University of Maryland, and Harvard before coming to Columbia in 1995. At Columbia , she chaired the Center for French and Francophone studies from its foundation in 1997 to 2002. Maryse Condé’s novels have been translated into English, German, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Japanese.