Saint-Malo/Bamako 2009-2010 - The white griot’s Meridian

by and with Marc Roger
Professional reader

 5000 Kms - 5 Countries - 160 Readings

The white griot’s Meridian, why ?
In May 2009, I will start on a trek following a dreamed-up meridian-line linking Saint-Malo to Bamako. At every stop, I intend to offer public readings from novels, poems and short stories by French and foreign authors and I mean to stop all along the three-thousand-five-hundred-mile haul between Saint-Malo and Bamako.
I am a professional reader, seasoned by long hikes along manifold roads that have brought me both maturity and fulfilment.

A stick, a pair of hiking shoes, only the text and my voice. I want the sound to float and make sense directly to the transported ears. I wish my private trip to be shared with others to multiply opportunities for exchanges and encounters. I will try to make out the necessary volume of silence to call up the broadcasters of messages. I intend to give everything a name, and find the right word. I wish to get to the core of books so that we may throb in unison.

A 50- kilo payload, made up of a walker’s outfit and my camping equipment, a few maps, a compass, a satellite-operated telephone, a personal computer, a first-aid box, a clean outfit to wear for my public readings, a list of children’s and young adults’ books and a collection of selected extracts from authors to provide reading matter for several hours.

Babel, the indispensable travelling companion, is a five-year-old gelding. My donkey is called Babel which is a reference to diversity. He is the archetypal ambassador of the library he shall carry on his back for a year.
To ensure Babel the best conditions, if you live in the country, a fenced-in preferably dry meadow to keep his feet in good condition will be welcome. In town, a quiet dry place (with a concrete or earthen floor), ten liters of water and three kilos of dry hay will definitely make him happy. Of course carrots, apples, bread, cakes and sweets of any kind will be strictly forbidden. The donkey originating from dry hot countries providing scarce vegetation has optimized its digestion capacities. It draws its energy from little food.
When we will stop at night and when we leave next day, we will make sure the daily cares Babel needs have been provided to him : unloading or loading followed by grooming, massaging his back and cleaning his hooves.
The address and telephone number of a blacksmith, of a veterinary surgeon, or a nearby donkey-breeder might come in handy.

Biography et bibliography
Marc Roger, was born in Bamako (Mali) in 1958. He has been a professional reader belonging to the « La Voie des Livres » company to fulfill his passion for reading aloud since October 1992.

« To him, reading aloud to an audience  means to give the largest number of young and adult listeners the opportunity to get acquainted with tales, short stories or extracts from novels. It also means arousing the desire to read, to be introduced into the world of books which generate exchanges and ideas. Finally, in the centre of towns and villages, in enterprises, in pubs and cafes, everywhere in the city, it means standing out as a messenger. This is what a professional reader is definitely supposed to do. »

My literary route as a professional reader :

1992-1996 : First public readings in old people’s homes, libraries, book fairs and literary pubs.

1997-1998 : A hike round France marked by numerous public readings reported in « À pied et à voix haute » published by HB (a publishing firm)

2003-2004 : « Around the Mediterranean Sea on foot » A long tour with loads of books read to large audiences, and an experience reported in « Sur les Chemins d’Oxor » published Actes Sud.


In cooperation with Nathalie Hirschsprung
Education consultant
National coordinator for UNESCO-associated schools
French UNESCO commission


In cooperation with Rufina Moreno
National coordinator for UNESCO-associated schools

From Wednesday October 14th till Tuesday October 20th 2009 : MADRID
A first reading in a secondary school and a second one on the Plaza Mayor attended by students from two other Madrid secondary schools (the students are to be familiar with the texts).

From Monday October 26th till Friday October 30th 2009 : TOLEDO 
A reading on the Plaza de la puerta de la Sinagoga attended by the pupils of a primary school, but open to all.

From Monday November 16th till Friday November 20th 2009 : CORDOBA 
A reading in the patio of the Mezquita or Puerta de la Sinagoga or in the district or the Juderia Plaza Yehuda Levi with a group of school children.
Two readings on the main village-squares of Torrecampo and Cabra attended by the pupils but open to everybody.

From Thursday November 26th till Thursday December 3d 2009 : SEVILLA 
A reading in the alcazares reales (sala del Almirante), accessible to deaf children previously acquainted with the texts so that they can take possession of them in their own way. A reading which can of course be enjoyed by those whose hearing is correct.
Several readings are planned in the numerous Unesco-associated schools around Sevilla.

From Wednesday December 9th till Wednesday December 16th 2009 : CADIZ
Readings in public places (their number still unknown). In three secondary schools, one of which teaches French as a second language.

Last week in December 2009 : TARIFA

In cooperation with the
National coordinator UNESCO-associated schools

First week in January 2010 : Tanger
From January 18th 2010 : Kenitra
From January 30th 2010 : Rabat
From February 13th 2010 : Casablanca
El-Jadida planned
Essaouira planned
Agadir planned

A drive is being planned between Agadir and Podor in Senegal.


In cooperation with Madam Seck
National coordinator UNESCO-associated schools

From Friday February 26th till Sunday March 7th 2010 : Podor
From Friday March 12th till Wednesday March 17th 2010 : Haere Lao
From Wednesday March 24th till Sunday March 28th  2010 : Matam
From Sunday April 4th till Saturday April 10th 2010 : Bakel

In cooperation with Mister Traore
National coordinator UNESCO-associated schools

From Tuesday April 20th till Thursday April 22th 2010 : Kayes
From Wednesday April 28th till Friday April 30th 2010 : Bafoulabe
From Monday May 10th till Saturday May 15th 2010 : Kita
From May 25th 2010 : Bamako

During  my twelve-month tour which will take me from Saint-Malo to Bamako, I wish to offer a selection of readings made up of extracts from African, French and English novels and tales calling up today and yesterday Africa.

A programme entitled

We shall encounter violence and drame but also humour and fantasy poetry and travelling. Those readings will – I hope – prompt us to exchange our view points, to question the validity of the North-South exchanges, to appraise the relations between tradition and modernism, finally to travel together thanks to books.


Amkoullel, l’enfant Peul, HAMPATÉ BA (Mali)
Verre cassé, MABANCKOU (Congo)
Les petits garçons naissent aussi des étoiles, DONGALA (Congo)
L’ivrogne dans la brousse, TUTUOLA (Nigeria)
Eldorado, GAUDÉ (France) 
Oeuvre poétique, SENGHOR (Sénégal)
Tambour-Babel, PÉPIN (Guadeloupe)
Le Ventre de l’Atlantique, DIOME (Sénégal)
Petit traité sur l’immensité du monde, TESSON (France)
Méharées, MONOD (France)
Au bout de la peur, MOORHOUSE (Grande-Bretagne)



All along  the tour, special attention will be given to teenage literature, introducing a very special reading method : reading while hiding one’s face behind an open album, which proves attractive to both children and adults, French speakers and others, thanks to its playful and accessible approcach.

BISINSKI Pierrick, Abricadabrac (L'école des loisirs)
BISINSKI Pierrick, Papa fais-nous peur (L'école des loisirs)
BLAKE Stéphanie, Caca boudin (L'école des loisirs)
FAULKNER Keith, La grenouille qui avait une grande bouche (Casterman)
FEIFFER Jules, Aboie, Georges ! (Pastel / L'école des loisirs)
GAY-PARA Praline, Quel radis dis-donc ! (Didier Jeunesse)
HOLZWARTH Werner, De la petite taupe qui voulait savoir qui lui avait fait sur la tête
SOLOTAREFF Grégoire, Oh ! C'est à qui ? (L'école des loisirs)
TEJIMA Keizaburo, Le rêve du renard (L'école des loisirs)
UNGERER Tomi, Le géant de Zéralda (L'école des loisirs)
YACCARINO Dan, Bonne nuit Monsieur Nuit ! (Albums Circonflexes)

CLÉMENT Claude, Le Masque de Brumes (Milan)
DEDIEU Thierry, Yacouba (Seuil Jeunesse)
EPANYA Christian, Le petit photographe de Bamba (Syros)
EPANYA Christian, Le taxi-brousse de Papa Diop (Syros)
ICHIKAWA Satomi, Ma chèvre Karam-Karam (L'école des loisirs)
KONATE Dialiba, Le prince Maghan Diawara (Seuil Jeunesse)
MWANKUMI Dominique, Prince de la rue (Archimède/L’école des loisirs)
NORAC Carl, Akli prince du désert (Pastel)
SELLIER Marie, L’Afrique, petit Chaka (Réunion des musées nationaux)
TADJO Véronique, Le bel oiseau et la pluie (Nouvelles éditions ivoiriennes/Edicef)
WILSDORF Anne, Jujube (Kaléidoscope/L’école des loisirs)
WILSDORF Anne, M’Toto (Kaléidoscope/L’école des loisirs)


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