Though Mali’s literature is less famous than its music, Mali has always been one of Africa’s liveliest intellectual centers.

Mali’s literary tradition is passed mainly by word of mouth, with jalis reciting or singing histories and stories known by heart.

Amadou Hampate Ba, Mali’s best-known historian, spent much of his life writing these oral traditions down for the world to remember.

The best-known novel by a Malian writer is Yambo Ouologuem’s Le devoir de violence, which won the 1968 Prix Renaudot but whose legacy was marred by accusations of plagiarism.

Other well-known Malian writers include Baba Traore, Modibo Sounkalo Keita, Massa Makan Diabaté, Moussa Konate, and Fily Dabo Sissoko.