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Tahar Ben Jelloun

Novelist, poet, journalist and essayist

Ben Jelloun (Fes, Morocco, 1944) is one of the most illustrious and prolific French-language authors of his generation. As a young philosophy teacher in Casablanca, he was forced to emigrate to France in 1971 due to the Arabization of education in Morocco. In Paris he published his first novels and began to contribute to Le Monde newspaperHis recognition as a writer came in 1987, when he became the first North African writer to receive the Prix Goncourt, the most prestigious literary award in French literature, for his novel The Sacred Night. Today, he spends his time between Paris and Tangier. His widely translated works often address the theme of racial discrimination, emigration, and identity and religious conflicts. Some of the best known are Racism Explained to My Daughter (The New Press, 1999) and Islam Explained (The New Press, 2002). An active observer of current social and political events in France and North Africa, he regularly writes in Le Monde, El País, La Vanguardia, Corriere della Sera, la Reppublica and Aftonbladet. More recently, he has published Leaving Tangier (Arcadia Books, 2016) and By Fire: Writings on the Arab Spring (Curbstone Books, 2016).

Update: 16 April 2013


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