Moroccan writer Tahar ben Jelloun was born on December 1, 1944. Although his first language is Arabic, all of his many books have been written in French. He was educated in both languages and became a professor of philosophy. He left Morocco for Paris in 1971 when he was no longer allowed to teach in French.
Ben Jelloun then tackled studies in psychiatry at the same time that he began to write extensively. He earned a Ph.D. in this second field and a keen understanding of human nature is evident in his books. In 1987, he won the Prix Goncourt for La nuit sacrée (Sacred Night). Other awards followed. Ben Jelloun’s voice became important in the issue of anti-Arab racism in France. Two of his books on this theme are Le racisme expliqué à ma fille (Racism explained to my daughter) and Leaving Tangier.
I use excerpts from some of his books in my AP French class, so they’re manageable by the advanced-intermediate student of French. Several of them have been translated into as many as 43 different languages, if you’re concerned about tackling them in French.
Today’s expression is a quotation by ben Jelloun: Une bibliothèque est une chambre d’amis (oon bib-lee-o-tek et oon shambruh damee), which means “a library is a room of friends.” I like that enormously. Perhaps you’d like to welcome some friends by ben Jelloun into your home.
- What happened to my 2012 reading plan? (bookrhapsody.wordpress.com)
- Le French Book: First Release Jumps into Top 15 in One Day (prweb.com)