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The brainchild of a Duke English major, the Farendé Writers’ Society brings together aspiring authors from a village in northern Togo with U.S. university students and with a native son whose first novel was published in Paris. The youthful authors write nightly about everyday life in the village and convene twice a week to read and critique one another’s work. This idea has had surprising traction in this village of peasant farmers, with students dreaming big—and redefining what “development” means along the way.

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