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The ultimate guide to Algerian crime fiction

Crime, together with actions defined as criminal, are very much at the forefront of debates in Algeria at the moment. Over the course of the peaceful nationwide protests that began in February, a worrying number of women and men who have marched bearing the Amazigh flag on Fridays have been arrested. These arrests, reported to have started in June, initially dealt pre-trial detentions with release, eventually, on no charge. Soon however, the number of arrests increased, and releases were replaced with trial dates. For the State, displaying the Amazigh flag is an “attack on national unity”: that is to say, a crime.

On Monday November 12, the trial of 42 women and men arrested on this charge began. The results of that day’s deliberations were pronounced in the night, with announcements the following morning leading to a national outcry. Twenty-one of those examined were handed similar sentences: 12 months jail term, with 6 months suspended, in addition to a 30,000 dinar fi…
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Cri (Scream) by Ismael Ait Djafer

(portrait of the artist made by M'hammed Issiakhem in Bouchene's 1987 edition of the poems)




Ismael Ait Djafer is an Algerian poet and caricaturist known for two gut-wrenching long compositions 'Complainte des mendiants arabes de la Casbah et de la petite Yasmina tuée par son père' (published in 1950) and 'Cri' (possibly composed in 1964, and published in 1987, and 1998).





'Cri' is pratically impossible to find nowadays, so to honour the poet's memory, and to try to keep his work in circulation his poem 'Cri', in the edition published by Novelte Massalia in 1998, is made available here as a pdf (DOWNLOAD).


The edition features a profile of the poet by Nadia Idjouadienne, a preface by Yacine Kateb, and two drawings by Ait Djafer.   

List: Moroccan Literature in English (and) Translation

Moroccan Literature in English (and) Translation Many readers and bookshops organise their book piles, shelves and readings by country, loosely defined as the author’s country of origin, or of where the story takes place. It’s an approach to fiction I always found odd and enjoyable. There is a special kind of enjoyment to be had by sticking to the fiction of a place and concentrating on it for a while. The pleasure I derive from this may simply be due to my myopia, and the habit it brings of frowning at a single point until a clear picture emerges, but as others engage in the same, and comforted by a crowd, it’s a habit I pursue and which is now taking me to Morocco. This journey, I make accompanied by a list of Moroccan literature in English, that is, translated fiction or literature written originally in English. It is shared below for the curious and fellow addicts. I could say that my tendency to focus on a country is how the construction of the list began, but that would be a stic…