The works of two Moroccan writers are nominated for the Arab Literature Prize 2020. Madi Belem’s “La langue maudite” and Youssef Fadel’s “N’appelle pas, il n’y a personne” are on the official list proposed to the jury of the eighth edition of the Prize awarded in France by the Institut du monde arabe and the Lagardère Foundation. A total of seven novels published by Syrian, Lebanese, Palestinian, Moroccan and Sudanese authors are in the running for a prize of 10,000 euros.
Novel by Youssef FadelA novel by Youssef Fadel
published by Actes Sud and translated from Arabic by Philippe Vigreux, the novel “N’appelle pas, il n’y a personne” by Youssef Fadel is inspired by a song by Fayrouz. It tells a love story between Farah and Osmane. The young girl came from the small town of Azemmour in Casablanca to realise her dream of becoming a singer. Osmane is a craftsman decorator who works with his father on the construction site of the Hassan II Mosque.
Farah is like an angel of light for him, according to his appearances. However, the girl’s ambition is too pressing to assign her to a single place, to a single man, and this free nature exposes her to all lust.
This novel is the last in the author’s trilogy devoted to the period of the reign of Hassan II, with “A pretty white cat walks behind me” and “A rare blue bird flies with me”. Youssef Fadel is a writer, playwright, director, novelist and screenwriter. He has published several novels and plays, including “La Guerre en 1974” which earned him several months in prison. During his imprisonment, he wrote “Le Coiffeur du quartier des pauvres”. His novel “Haschish” received the Atlas prize in 2000 for the best Arabic-language fiction. “A rare blue bird flies with me” is the winner of the Moroccan Book Prize in 2014.
Madi Belem’s work
In “The Cursed Language”, Madi Belem pays homage to her father Driss Belemlih, a great professor of Arabic linguistics, specialist in pre-Islamic poetry, novelist and publisher, who died in 2013. In his first novel, the young author, born in 1990, presents his reflections on the world of literature through the story of his father. It was his father who gave him a taste for art, cinema and writing. Madi Belem attended the Florent courses. He made his first film, “Le Convoi”, by Frédéric Schoendoerffer and the series “Baron Noir”, on Canal+. In 2018, he won the first prize for Best Actor at the Agadir Film Festival.