Tahar Ben Jelloun has taken a pre-eminent place in today’s world of letters as both an imaginative writer and a public figure, in the tradition of his mentor Jean Genet. Born in Fez, he taught philosophy and published poetry in his native Morocco before emigrating in 1971 to France, where he began writing for Le Monde while earning his doctorate in psychiatric social work. He came to prominence with his 1985 novel L’Enfant de Sable (The Sand Child) and won the Prix Goncourt for his novel La Nuit sacrée (The Sacred Night). His book-length essay Le Racisme expliqué à ma fille (Racism Explained to My Daughter) was published to acclaim in 1998 and has been translated into 25 languages. He continues to contribute to the European press and to publish fiction and essays, most recently Cette aveuglante absence de lumière (winner of the International Impac Dublin Literary Award), L’Islam expliqué aux enfants, Amours sorcières and Le dernier ami.
Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, December 2005