M.H.A.Menondji was born in Cotonou, Benin, in 1976.
The daughter of former political refugees, Menondji spent her first years
between Cote d’Ivoire, Benin and France. She then enrolled in the University
of Orleans School of Law, France, at age seventeen. One of the youngest
students of her class, she was encouraged to pursue a brief military career
and join the French Navy for two years as an officer to strengthen
her International Relations credentials. She settled for a move to exciting
Paris where she attended the University of La Sorbonne, and graduated
with a degree in Public International Law.
If her decision turned her into what she describes as a failed French sailor,
her fascination with the military never faltered, and the first chapter of a
three-hundred-and-forty-page novel was completed soon
after, in French. The work was titled "Au-Dela des Collines" (Beyond The Hills).
A strong desire to study humanitarian law and refugee protection prompted her
to migrate to the United States in 1999. A year dedicated to learning the intricacies
of the English language facilitated her transfer to Whittier College, CA from where
she obtained a B.A. in Political Science. She was inducted into Pi Sigma Alpha,
the National Political Science Honor Society shortly thereafter.
She also translated "Au-Dela des Collines" in English, a language she learned as a
third, which makes the award-winning “Beyond Those Hills: an Officer and a Lady”,
a fourteen-year labor of passion...
Her only ambition in regards to writing, her leitmotiv is to 'break the mold',
instill positive multiculturalism in the fount of creativity from which most African
writers have drawn over the years. She believes globalization both entitles and
enables today's writers to focus on subject matters other than the mere description
of familiar cultural settings. She hopes her background will teach her to not just
write in different languages but also 'write in different cultures.'
The recipient of a Master's degree in Diplomacy and International
Conflict Management, and an LL.M. in International Law candidate (Tufts University
Fletcher School of Law with an emphasis on Refugee Law
at Harvard Law School), she is also a strong believer in writing as a socially
responsible art. She is determined not to let another fourteen years lapse
until she completes her next literary project…