Assia Djebar

From ArticleWorld

Assia Djebar is the pen name of Algerian novelist Fatima-Zohra Imalayen. Djebar is the recipient of many literary awards.


Assia Djebar was born Fatima-Zohra Imalayen on August 4, 1936 in Cherchell, Algeria. As a young girl, she studied in Algiers. Djebar went on to study at the Lycee Fenelon in Paris and then became the first Algerian woman accepted to Ecole Normale Superieure, an influential Paris university.

Djebar was active in the Algerian war for independence. She participated in the Algerian student strike in 1956 and later married Resistance member Ahmed-Ould-Rouis, whom she eventually divorced.

In 1957, Djebar adopted her now-famous penname and published La Soif. She originally used the pen name to disguise her work from her father. In 1958, she released Les Impatients, which tells the story of a young woman in pre-revolution Algeria who feels trapped by the authoritative men and suppressed women of her family.

In the 1970s, Djebar also began a film career. She directed La Nouba des femmes du Mont Chenoua in 1979 and won the International Critics Prize at the Venice Film Festival.

In 1980, Djebar married Algerian poet Malek Alloulou.

In 1996, Djebar won the Neustadt Prize for Contribution to World Literature. In 1997, she won another award, the Yourcenar Prize. She has been nominated for a Nobel Prize in literature several times.

Since 2001, Djebar has worked as the Silver Chair Professor for French and Francophone studies at New York University. Djebar is serves on the Academie Royale de Langue Francaise de Belgique and is a member of the French Academy.

Partial list of works

  • Les Enfants du Nouveau Monde (1962), novel
  • Les Alouettes Naives (1967), novel
  • La Zerda et les chants de l’ouble (1982) film
  • Fantasia: An Algerian Cavalcade (1995), novel
  • A Sister to Scheherazade (1997), novel
  • Women of Algiers in Their Apartments (1999), collection of short stories
  • Algerian White (2001), novel
  • Filles d’Ismael dans le vent et la tempete (2002), musical