Mills Professor Wins Book of the Year from African Literature Association

Oakland, CA–March 10, 2016

Mills College Professor of French and Francophone Studies Brinda Mehta won the African Literature Association’s 2016 Book of the Year Award for Outstanding Scholarship for her latest work, Dissident Writings of Arab Women: Voices Against Violence.

The African Literature Association award goes to the author of an outstanding book in African literary studies published in the preceding calendar year. Mehta will receive her award at the African Literature Association conference in Atlanta in April.

“This award is for the women in the book, not me,” Mehta said. “These women were willing to risk their lives to write about social and political issues, the human condition, and the need for social justice and accountability.”

The 282-page book is a study of novels, short stories, poems, docudramas, interviews and testimonials of women. The book analyzes “the links between creative dissidence and inscriptions of violence in a select group of postcolonial Arab women,” according to Mehta’s introduction. The stories that inspired the book were authored over a 50-period from the 1950s to the early phases of the Arab Spring uprisings of 2012.

In her introduction, Mehta says the stories she writes about in the book “take the readers through landscapes of pain, bleeding wounds, resilience, despair and revolution to ‘imagine’ the lives of others in solidarity and empathy.”

Mehta has taught at Mills College for 23 years. She is the Chair of the Department of Languages and is the Program Head of French and Francophone Studies. Her professional interests include 19th-century French literature, psychoanalysis and feminist critical theories, and Caribbean and African francophone literatures.