Leila Sebbar


Leila Sebbar (ليلى صبار) was born on 9 November 1941 in Aflou, Algeria, to a French mother and an Algerian father. She lives in Paris and writes in French. She spent her youth in colonial Algeria but now lives in Paris. She writes about the relationship between France and Algeria and often juxtaposes the imagery of both countries to show the difference in cultures between the two.

Sebbar deals with a variety of topics, and either adopts a purely fictional approach or uses psychology to make her point. Many of Sebbar's novels express the frustrations of the Beur, the second generation of Maghribi youth who were born and raised in France and who have not yet integrated into French society. Her book Parle mon fils, parle à ta mère (1984; Talk son, talk to your mother), illustrates the absence of dialogue between two generations who do not speak the same language.

The novel tells the story of the final day of a dying man who came from Algeria to France as a young man seeking work. It depicts the story of his youth and shows his viewpoint on the Muslim society and the "3 witches". The reader comes to realise that the man in the story is not fearful of those "witches" but just of dying alone, without another Muslim by his side to read to him the prayer of the dead.

Sebbar never actually names her characters to keep a sense of anonymity and mysteriousness and it could be said that it does not restrict the story to one personal account but it could relate to anyone and shows the very common viewpoint of those seeking asylum.

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Publications: (French)

(Translated from French into English)

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