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Bernadette Sanou Dao was born on the 25th of February 1952 in Baguinda (Bamako, Mali). At the age of 11, she returned to Burkina with her family. She undertook her secondary schooling at the Notre Dame de Kolog-Naba college in Ouagadougou where she completed her Baccalauréat in 1972. She then continued her studies in Dakar, at Ohio University and in Paris (Sorbonne).
Having studied literature and linguistics (Bachelor of Arts, Masters in general linguistics, DEA in African linguistics), she collaborated in the development of several school manuals in Jula (5 readers) and in French (Lire au Burkina reading book CP1, published with Jeanne Sidibe, Larousse, 1986). From 1977 to 1985 she was a teacher of French and Head of the Applied Linguistics Department at the Burkina Teaching Institute (IPB). In 1986 she worked at the National Institute for Alphabetisation (INA). From September 1986 to August 1987 she was Minister for Culture in Burkina Faso, then Principal of the Burkina Teaching Institute (IPB). In 1988 she founded the UNTENI (Association for children's survival, protection and development) and in 1991 she set up the GUIMBI (women's savings bank/ credit society). Since 1996 she has been a member of the Information Advisory Council. Early in 1999, she became the Minister for Regional Integration. Bernadette Sanou Dao is married and is the mother of four children. Presently she lives in Ouagadougou (1997).
In regard to her literary endeavours, she is one of the top poets, if not the top, in Burkina. Having been crowned several times with literary prizes at a national level, she has written children's stories, novellas and poems in French as well as in the national language "Jula". With its clear and fluid style her poetry is inviting.
(Biographical details collected by Angèle Ouedraogo)

Publications

Poetry

"Parturition (Vaines douleurs-fureur vaine)" [Childbirth (Vain sorrows - vain fury)] in Poésie. Ouagadougou: Ministère de la Culture. Imprimerie Presses Africaines, 1986 (pp.5-38).
As its title suggests, the principal theme of this collection is sorrow. Women's sorrow, children's sorrow, the sorrow of a people on a quest for a greater well-being. The image of childbirth constitutes a double symbol, that of women's suffering and that of a social malaise which is translated into terms of being and having. (Angèle Ouedraogo)

"Emeraudes" [Emeralds] in Poésie pour enfants. Ouagadougou: Ministère de la Culture. Imprimerie Presses Africaines, 1986 (pp.5-20). Children's poetry.

Quote-Part. [Share]. Ouagadougou: Imprimerie Nouvelle du Centre, 1992. (Prize Jean Cocteau 1995).

Symphonie (Soie et Soleil). [Symphony]. Ouagadougou: Imprimerie Nouvelle du Centre, 1992.

Short stories

La dernière épouse. [The last wife]. Abidjan: EDILIS 1997. A collection of nine short stories.

La femme de diable et autres histoires suivies de "L'écrivain que je suis". Ouagadougou: Découvertes du Burkina, 2003. (174p.). ISBN: 2 9516039 6 7. Nouvelles. [Préface de Mariama Beïdari].

Children's literature

Under the pen name Mâh Dao, La Crèche du petit Mohammed. [Little Mohammed's cradle]. Abidjan/Montréal : CEDA/Hurtubise, 2002. (72p.). Children book (10-12 years old) illustrated by Kou Lougué.

Jeanmarie Volet


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