Simone Brumant was born on 8 January 1938 at Saintes in the Charente-Maritime province of France. Her place of birth is not clear, however, as she has also stated that she was born in Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe.
Her parents were originally from Guadeloupe. Her father was a soldier while her mother was a teacher. When the Second World War broke out, her father stayed in France to fight, while she and her mother returned to Guadeloupe.
At the age of 18, while studying in Paris, she met her future husband, André Schwarz-Bart, who encouraged her to take up writing as a career. They married in 1960, and lived at various times in Senegal, Switzerland, Paris, and Guadeloupe.
She currently lives in Goyave, a small village in Guadeloupe.
In 1967, together with her husband, André Schwarz-Bart, she wrote Un plat de porc aux bananas vertes, a historical novel exploring the parallels in the exiles of Caribbeans and Jews. In 1972, they published La Mulâtresse Solitude. In 1989, they wrote a six-volume encyclopaedia Hommage à la femme noire (In Praise of Black Women), to honour the black heroines who were missing in the official historiography.
Despite being mentioned as her husband's collaborator in their works, critics have often attributed full authorship to André Schwarz-Bart, and only his name appears in the French edition of La Mulâtresse Solitude. Her authorship is acknowledged, however, in the English translation of the book.
In 1972, Schwarz-Bart wrote Pluie et vent sur Télumée Miracle, which is considered one of the masterpieces of Caribbean literature. In 1979, she published Ti jean l'horizon.
Schwarz-Bart has also written for the theatre: Ton beau capitaine was a well-received play in one act.
Schwarz-Bart, along with her husband, is deeply committed to political issues, and the issues faced by people, especially women, of colour. She has explored the languages and locations of her ancestry in her works, and examines male domination over women in the Caribbean, as well as themes of alienation in exile.
- Un Plat de porc aux bananes vertes (with André Schwarz-Bart), Seuil, 1967
- La Mulâtresse Solitude (with André Schwarz-Bart), Seuil, 1972
- Pluie et vent sur Télumée Miracle, Seuil, 1972 (The Bridge of Beyond, translated by Barbara Bray, New York Review Books Classics, 2013.)
- Ti Jean l'horizon, Seuil, 1979 (Between Two Worlds, translated by Barbara Bray, Heinemann, 1992.)
- Ton Beau Capitaine, Seuil, 1987. (Your Handsome Captain, translated by Jessica Harris and Catherine Temerson, Callaloo 40 (Summer 1989).)
- Hommage à la femme noire (with André Schwarz-Bart), Éditions Consulaires, 1989, 6 vol. (In Praise of Black Women, translated by Rose-Myriam Réjouis, Stephanie Daval and Val Vinokurov, University of Wisconsin Press, 2001-2004.)
Awards and recognition
In 1973, Schwarz-Bart's Pluie et vent sur Télumée Miracle was awarded the Grand prix des lectrices de Elle. In 2006, Schwarz-Bart was awarded the rank of a Commander in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. In 2008, she received the Prix Carbet de la Caraïbe et du Tout-Monde (together with her husband, posthumously) for her lifetime of literary works.
- Marie-Agnès Sourieau (March 26, 1997). "Simone Schwarz-Bart". In Verity Smith. Encyclopedia of Latin American Literature. Taylor & Francis. p. 757. ISBN 978-0-203-30436-5.
- Thomas C. Spear (2010). "5 Questions pour Île en île". Île en île.
- Michelle Hunter (2000). "Schwarz-Bart, Simone". Postcolonial Studies @ Emory. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
- Cristina Johnston (2005). "Simone Schwarz-Bart". In Bill Marshall. France and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History. ABC-CLIO. pp. 1054–1055. ISBN 978-1-85109-411-0.
- "The Bridge of Beyond". New York Review Books. August 2013. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
- Sara Wilson (September 2013). "Editor's Pick: The Bridge of Beyond by Simone Schwarz-Bart". World Literature Today. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
- Kathleen Gyssels (May 1, 1999). "Simone Schwarz-Bart". Île en île. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
- Aude Désiré (December 15, 2008). "Simone et André Schwarz-Bart, lauréats du prix Carbet". Association Mamanthé. Retrieved December 26, 2013.