Yasmina Khadra: Identity and Openness in the Muslim World

May 14, 2007

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Mohammed Moulessehoul (born January 10, 1955) wrote under a woman's pseudonym to avoid military censorship only revealing his identity in 2001 after leaving the Algerian army with whom he served during the Algerian Civil war. Khadra writes in French. He speaks about his life experiences and the current state of affairs in the Muslim world and elsewhere. He also details how he borrows from other cultures in his writings. Much of his focus is the worldwide need for open-mindedness and he warns against the dangers of extreme religiosity. Author of numerous novels, in 2004 Newsweek acclaimed him as "one of the rare writers capable of giving a meaning to the violence in Algeria today." Some important works include The Swallows of Kabul, set in Afghanistan under the Taliban, which was shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award (2006), as was The Attack (2008). L'Attentat won the Prix des libraires in 2006--the rights to which were bought (2005) by the producers of Brokeback Mountain. His latest book, Les Sirenes de Bagdad, is about the conflict in Iraq. Yasmina Khadra is now living in Aix en Provence in the south of France with his wife and three children.

Part of the Jean Bodfish Brown Lecture Fund series. Thanks to the Délégation Générale de l'Alliance Française in Washington, D.C., for their participation in this project.

 

Recorded Monday, May 14, 2007 at Alliance Française de Chicago.