Tahar Ben Jelloun

Tahar Ben Jelloun is a Moroccan author, poet and painter born in 1944 in Fez. Although he started drawing before writing, he only began painting in the past ten years. After attending a bilingual French-Moroccan primary school, he studied at the French lycée in Tangier until he was 18. He then went to the University Mohammed V in Rabat, where he majored in philosophy and wrote his first poems collected in “Hommes sous linceul de silence” (Men under
shroud of silence) (1971). Tahar Ben Jelloun later taught philosophy in Morocco. However, in 1971, following the Arabisation of philosophy teaching, he had to leave for France, as he was not trained for pedagogy in Arabic. He moved to Paris to pursue his psychology studies. From 1972 onwards, he wrote numerous articles
for the daily newspaper Le Monde. In 1973, his first novel, “Harouda”, was published by Maurice Nadeau from Denoël (Lettres Nouvelles). In 1975, he earned a Ph.D in social Psychiatry, with his experience as a Psychotherapist reflected in his work, “La Réclusion solitaire” (Solitary Reclusion), 1976. In 1985 he published the novel “L’Enfant de Sable” (The Sand Child), which earned him renown. He was awarded the Prix Goncourt in 1987 for “La Nuit Sacrée” (Sacred Night), a sequel to “L’Enfant de
Sable”. He is the author of several educational publications, such as “Le Racisme expliqué à ma fille” (Racism explained to my daughter), 1998, or “L’Islam expliqué aux enfants” (Islam explained to children), 2002) and is regularly invited to speak at schools and universities in Morocco, France and Europe. In 2008, he was elected member of the Académie Goncourt. Tahar Ben Jelloun is the world’s most translated author, with his books translated into 45 languages including Esperanto and Braille.