Assia Djebar Algeria PWF 2010
Nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature, Assia Djebar is the penname of Fatima-Zohra Imalayène—the acclaimed Algerian novelist, translator and filmmaker—who was born in 1936, in the coastal town of Cherchell. Veering away from St. Augustine’s Mediterranean—she explores the complexities of the world of Muslim women and their struggle for social emancipation.
With Assia Djebar, we experience Franz Fanon and Albert Camus—against the subservience of stagnant nationalism. Her delicacy of heart juxtaposes French colonialism—against the backdrop of the Algerian War and the voices of Algerian women.
After Algeria’s independence, Assia Dejbar was criticized for continuing to write in French, as opposed to the national language of Arabic. As a form of disarmament, Djebar began to study Arabic. In her later novels she uses French to reproduce Arabic rhythms.
Assia Djebar’s work includes: The Thirst, Fantasia: An Algerian Cavalcade, A Sister to Scheherazade, So Vast a Prison, Algerian White, Women of Algiers in Their Apartment and The Tongue’s Blood Does Not Run Dry.
Her first film, La Nouba des femmes du Mont Chenoua, won the International Critics Prize at the 1979 Film Festival in Venice. In 2005, she was inducted into the Académie Française, the first writer from the Maghreb to enter.
Assia Djebar currently resides in New York and Paris.
First Chapter of Assia Djebar´s book: Fantasia
Speech given by Elisabeth Møller Jensen at the Danish literary Aloa prize ceremony.