In Algerian White, Assia Djebar weaves an epic tapestry out of her intimate connection to a group of Algerian writers and intellectuals whose lives were cut short since the 1956 struggle for independence. They include Mahfoud Boucebi, a psychiatrist; M’Hamed Boukhobza, a sociologist; and Abdelkader Alloula, a dramatist–the beloved friends to whom she dedicates the book–as well as Albert Camus. She records the horrors of her country’s civil war and untangles the complex political and social issues that led to the long trail of blood. This utterly unique book grows from conversations remembered and imagined, meditations on her fallen literary/intellectual/spiritual peers and predecessors. Yet for Djebar, they cannot be silenced. They continue to tell stories, smile, and endure through her defiant pen. This cultural and political history of Algeria’s cross-cultural reality and its fight against colonization is infused with the oral tradition of Djebar’s Berber roots.
Assia Djebar : Assia Djebar, novelist, scholar, poet, and filmmaker, won Germany’s premier literary prize, Le Prix de la Paix, in 2000, the Neustadt Prize for Contributions to World Literature in 1996, the Yourcenar Prize in 1997. Djebar was educated in Algeria and France. Her works translated into English include So Vast the Prison (Seven Stories Press, 1999). Her first film, La Nouba des Femmes de Mont Chenoua, won the ’79 Venice Biennale International Critic Prize. In 2000, she directed her musical drama Filles de Ismael dans le vent et la tempête at the Teatro di Roma. Djebar is a professor of French and Francophone Literature at the New York University. She divides her time between Paris and New York.