Seychelles: Your Country | Antoine Abel

Your country

Is studded with mountains,

Seychelles lad.

With tough granite

With crude gravel

And with coral, your country.

Your country

Wears a belt

Of white beaches loosening in the tides.

Antoine Abel was born in 1934, in Anse Boileau on Mahé Island, the principal island of the Seychelles. He went to school there, then attended the Universities of Reading and Bristol in England, eventually taking up a position at the Seychelles Teacher Training College which he held until he retired in 1986. Abel is widely considered to be the father of Seychelles literature, having written novels, short stories, poetry, plays and folklore in French, English and Seychelles Creole, as well as collecting oral pieces for publication. His best known works are three collections of prose poems: Coco sec (1969), Une tortue se rappelle (1977), Contes et poémes des Seychelles (1977). Abel was awarded France’s Prix Mascareignes in 1979. Following his death in 2004, since 2007 the Festival Kreol des Seychelles yearly awards the Prix Antoine Abel in his honour.