Maghrebi literature is one of the most thematically, linguistically, and politically diverse literatures in the world. This diversity is due in no small part to the different geographies, cultures, and temporalities shaping Maghrebi literature. While much scholarship has focused on the Arabic with Francophone dichotomy in the study of Maghrebi literature, recent works in Amazigh, Italian, English, and Spanish have brought attention to the far more varied linguistic reality that Maghrebi literature scholars have to take into consideration when theorizing their literature. In fact, Maghrebi literature has never been only written in Arabic or French. Archival holdings in France, the Netherlands, and the Maghreb show that Amazigh language has a significant literary and poetic heritage that has yet to be analyzed and shared with the wider academic and lay audiences (see Nico van den Boogert’s magisterial work on Awzāl and Manumed’s edited volume on Berber manuscripts). Instead of being locked up in the French vs Arabic logic that has dominated academic approaches to Maghrebi literature since independence, new imaginaries of the Maghreb, such as the idea of Tamazgha, allow us to rethink Maghrebi literature as a multilingual, multiracial, and multiethnic literature that connects people from different backgrounds through the geocultural space extending from Egypt to the Canary Islands known as “the Maghreb.” Language issues aside, Maghrebi literature today poses important questions regarding the origins of its authors and their connections to the Maghreb, including whether Maghrebi literature is only produced by authors of Maghrebi origins or whether it is possible to broaden its definition to investigate Maghrebiness in literary works that take place in the Maghreb regardless of the origins of their authors.

In the past six years I have been trying to conceptualize the idea of Maghrebography; in other words,  theorizing Maghrebi literature as a transnational and transcontinental phenomenon in order to account for the different locations from and languages in which authors write about the Maghreb. In using Maghrebography, I recognize the existence of a Maghreb-centered or Maghreb-inflected writing that can happen in any language or emerge from any location as long as it is Maghreb-themed. Maghrebography, the way I intend it, will help scholars broaden the notion of the Maghreb by considering the unconventional locations and languages from which the Maghreb is articulated as a literary space. Moreover, in approaching the literary Maghreb from the point of view of Maghrebography, the literary works produced during the colonial times, which are excluded from Maghrebi literature, could potentially be included in a revised understanding of Maghrebi literary heritage. Finally, in suggesting Maghrebography as a novel way to think about Maghrebi literature, I also draw attention to new literary genres that have not been articulated in the past and which cannot be accommodated by the phrase Maghrebi literature anymore.

The literary Maghreb has become far too complex since Maghrebi countries’ independence between the 1950s and 1962 to continue to support models of language grounded in colonial nation-state boundaries and official national languages. For instance, political repression has led to the emergence of a vibrant testimonial prison literature, especially in Morocco and Tunisia, in which former political detainees have chronicled myriad forms of suffering meted out to them by authoritarian regimes. The long bloody years in Algeria have similarly resulted in the appearance of many testimonial works whose authors attempt to work through their traumas. As a result, a trauma-focused fictional subfield of Maghrebi literature has been established since the early 1990s. Moreover, memory has become one of the most fascinating and fast-growing facets of Maghrebi literature in the last decade. With works that reimagine the colonial past, revive colonial figures or depict the emigration of Jews and Pieds-Noirs from the Maghreb, which I have called “mnemonic literature” in another setting (El Guabli, 2018), reconstruct legacies that were passed down to younger generations of Maghrebis who did not witness the events they represent. Since the early 2000s, mnemonic literature has been a central fixture of Maghrebi literature. The main representatives of this mnemonic literature are the different iterations of Albert Camus’s life and works in Algerian literature (for example Kemal Daoud’s Meursault contre-enquête). Although the Arabic-Francophone debate is still de rigueur among Maghrebi academic circles and even in Maghrebi societies in which the place of French language in the educational systems is still being debated, it is high time Maghrebi literature scholars engaged with the historiographical, mnemonic, societal, and civic significance of the new subfields of Maghrebi literature do justice to the vibrancy and richness of this literature. A more focused attention to Africa, race, minorities, memory, social justice, and human rights, as well as more expansive notion of the languages of the Maghreb, could open up more productive directions for our study of the ever-growing corpus of Maghrebi literature and what its authors have attempted to do beyond the issue of languages of writing.

Choosing a representative sample of works from Maghrebi literature for this essential reading series is not an easy endeavor. First of all, any essential reading is necessarily truncated and incomplete. However, this very incompleteness should constructively stimulate questions from readers regarding what is missing and why it should be included. Due to constraints of time and space, one could only include a few works, which may not be agreed upon as being the must-read literary works produced in the Maghreb. Any process of selection must have its own internal logic by which the decision to include or exclude certain works is justified and legitimized. The internal logic that governed my choice of works in this first installment of readings about the Maghreb is the fact that they were published or translated between 1990s and 2019 and address questions that I think are relevant for contemporary sociopolitical, economic and social issues confronting Maghrebi societies. Moreover, the works I included in this essential reading list demonstrate that Maghrebi literature has, in fact, become literatures. This plurality consists of distinct subfields and thematic areas that grapple with the internal and global dynamics of Maghrebi societies from a variety of perspectives; from a Maghrebographic perspective. Finally, I include works in Amazigh, Arabic, French, and English in order to demonstrate that Maghrebi literature is past the Arabic-French dichotomy, and that Maghrebography requires the scholar to engage with Maghrebi literature in its multiplicity and fully appreciate the Maghreb as a vast, rich, and, most importantly, shifting literary space.

Le blanc de l’Algérie (Assia Djebar, Algerian White. New York: Seven Stories Press, 2000)

This autobiographical novel is one of Assia Djebar’s most acclaimed works. Published in 1995 to celebrate the lives of Boucebci, Boukhobza and Alloula, who “were assassinated in cold blood during the period between February 1993 and March 1994 at the height of the relentless, terroristic violence,” Le blanc de l’Algerie is a journey inside a society’s responses to ubiquitous death and a novelist’s invested interest in keeping the memory of the assassinated alive by rejecting their mourning (El Guabli, 2019). Through homage to the fallen intellectuals, the novel interrogates the political and historical legitimacy of an entire political system. Ranging from the politics of amnesia, which allowed the state to foreground some individuals as heroes while condemning others to oblivion, to the politics of mourning and recuperation of dead bodies, like in the case of Kateb Yacine, Le blanc de l’Algérie helps the reader process the complexity of a historic moment in which neither mourning nor forgetting are enough to make sense of the failure of the post-1962, independence state. Connecting the histories of loss in the Algerian recent past, Le blanc de l’Algérie weaves the stories of other intellectuals who died or were assassinated in the past with those of those were being assassinated in the 1990s as a result of rampant terrorism. By connecting the present deaths to the past ones, Le blanc de l’Algérie places the loss at the heart of Algeria’s post-colonial history.

La Seine était rouge (Leïla Sebbar, The Seine Was Red: Paris: 1961. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2008)

Leïla Sebbar’s novel is an important reflection on the repressed memory of the events of October 17, 1961 in Paris. This intergenerational novel delves into the politics of memory and amnesia that surround the arrest and murder of hundreds of members of the Algerian Fédération de France in Paris in 1961. Called to protest by the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN), Algerian protestors were met with Maurice Papon’s brutal force in Paris. Repressed in French historical and social memory, this event reemerged in the mid-1990s to haunt both French society and its politicians. Through its juxtaposition of the narratives of Amel’s mother, Noria, her grandmother, Lalla, Omer’s mother Mina, and Louis’ mother, Flora, La Seine était rouge recovers the memories and first-hand accounts of the repressed violence of  October 17, 1961. Through the unanswered questions of the younger generations and the persistent silences of their elders, who break the narrative about the events by refusing to talk about them, October 1961 is shown as a firewall that has to be demolished in order for the characters’ memories to emerge and enable them to work through their traumatic pasts. Intergenerational tensions are also important in the narrative told in the book. While the older generation prefers amnesia to stirring the wounds of the past, the younger generation does not shy away from asking uncomfortable questions that complicate the reader’s understanding of the past and its impact on their present.  Finally, in addition to using narrative to tell the story of October 17, 1961, the novel follows Louis’s endeavor to make a testimonial film that records different characters’ memories of the event, thus providing filmed testimony within a testimonial text.

Ṭa’ir azraq jamīl yuḥalliqu ma‘ī (Youssef Fadel, A Rare Blue Bird Flies with Me. Cairo: Hoopoe, 2016)

Published in 2013, A Rare Blue Bird Flies With Me tells the multiple stories of the Moroccan sanawāt al-raṣāṣ (Years of Lead,1956-1999) through the story of Aziz and Zina. Aziz is a brilliant student who defies the obstacles of his poor background to become a pilot in the Kénitra Military Base while Zina, also a person with a very difficult childhood, lives with her older sister in the peripheral city of Azrou. Aziz and Zina have in common their difficult childhoods as well as a traumatizing present. While Aziz struggles at work because of his failure to land the plane properly once he takes off, Zina and her older sister are at the mercy of a pimp who exploits the older sister without wavering about his plans to sell Zina’s adolescent body to his customers when the right time comes.  Because Aziz is suspended from flying his jet, he spends long periods of time at Stork Bar, where Zina’s older sister works for the French bar owner, Madam Janeau. During one these stays at the bar, Aziz notices the pimp’s attempt to sell Zina to an older man and decides to stop him. Aziz and Zina fall in love and decide to get married. However, on the night of their marriage, Aziz participates in a failed coup d’état against the king. As a result of his participation in the coup, Aziz is disappeared to an unknown location in the south of Morocco, where he stays for twenty years. Throughout Aziz’s disappearance, the novel depicts Zina’s attempts to find his whereabouts to no avail until Aziz sends her a message from his secret detention location, which leads her to the old Kasbah to which was forcibly disappeared.

In addition to being a profound statement on violations of human rights during the Moroccan Years of Lead, this novel initiates a new type of fictionalized testimonial writing. In particular, Fadel combines stories of different victims of state violence in Morocco in a novel manner. Because the specialized reader can easily recognize stories from different memoirs about political detention in Morocco, it is safe to say that the novel serves as a fictionalized history of “truthful” memoirs. This fictionalized history foregrounds the experience and agency of the victims of the Years of Lead at a moment when academic history has yet to write this recent past into history books.
Nazīf al-Hajar (Ibrahim al-Koni. The Bleeding of the Stone. Northhampton, MA: Interlink Books, 2013)

One of the most accomplished desert novels in Arabic, Nazīf al-ḥajar is also al-Koni’s most critically acclaimed novel translated into English. Not only does The Bleeding of the Stone place the desert at the center of the Arabic desert novel, but it also engages with crucial topics such as environmentalism, preservation of natural resources, and connections between humans and animals in the desert value system.  The construction of the plot around the character of Asouf and the waddan, an almost mythical mountain goat, brings attention to the unbridled onslaught on the desert fauna and flora through excessive hunting and unregulated consumption of meat. Asouf is a prophetic, nomadic figure who forsook eating meat because of his belief in the sanctity of the waddan or the mouflon, which belongs to the wild sheep family. Asouf’s vegetarianism and his care for the waddan blurs the boundary between the human and the animal, thereby instituting a new relationship between them. Endowed with divine characteristics, the waddan occupies a quasi-scared place in nomadic people’s rationalization of their desert space. Like the waddan, Asouf finds his dwelling in the mountains, far away from people, but the arrival of Cain and his friend and their pressure of Assouf to reveal the hiding place of this divine animal puts him in a difficult position between saving his life or the waddan’s. Asouf decides to save the waddanand ends up being slaughtered by Cain the hunter. Using both Quranic and biblical references and imagery, Nazif al-hajardepicts how Cain—the hunter—stops before nothing to quench his thirst for meat and blood, including the assassination of Asouf when he refuses to show him where to find the sacred waddan. In killing both the waddan and its protector, Cain continues committing the original crime of his mythic metonym. However, this time, killing animals is cast as a crime against humanity. The pioneering message that animals equal humans in Nazif al-hajar alerts us to the diverse and novel concerns within Maghrebography.

Al-Taliani (Shukrī al-Mabkhut, al-Talianī. Tunis: Dar al-Tanwir, 2014)

A winner of the Arab Booker Prize in 2015The Italian is an important novel that is situated between the two reigns in Tunisia. Emplotted between the end of Bourguiba’s rule and the beginning of Ben Ali’s era, The Italian tells the story of a law student named ‘Abdul-Nasser, who is nicknamed the Italian, and his partner Zina, also a student at the same university. In addition to depicting the struggle between student factions, including the Marxists and the Islamists at the university, the novel delves into political detention and surveillance of college campuses to stifle political activism and prevent ideas from having a life in society. Loyal to their leftist convictions, ‘Abdul-Nasser and Zina live together without marriage after graduation. ‘Abdul-Nasser works as a journalist whereas Zina becomes a teaching assistant as she completes her PhD at the university. During his work as a journalist, ‘Abdul-Nasser discovers a conspiracy against Bourguiba and attempts to publish an article about it, but the editor-in-chief reprimands him: “Listen, my son…the truth in Tunisia has one source, which is the state…and the Ministry of Interior is the state these days…the Interior is the state here…nobody asked you to replace Minister Ben Ali…he has the confidence of the Leader, so do attempt to share what he knows…free yourself from the lie of truth…” Shortly after ‘Abdul-Nasser’s conversation with his boss, Ben Ali carries a coup d’état against Bourguiba. What follows is the unraveling of ‘Abdul-Nasser’s world. He loses Zina and slips into a life entirely devoted to sensual pleasure. We discover this abysmal fall into alcoholism is a coping mechanism to come to terms with rape attempts that he was subjected to by an imam during his childhood. The novel thus weaves childhood trauma into political oppression and foreclosure of democratic change in pre-2010 Tunisia. The Arab Booker Prize Committee hailed The Italian as a “journey inside the realms of the body and the homeland, desire and establishment, contravention and opportunism, a beautiful rendering of the clumsiness of the individuals’ small world and the big world of the homeland.” 

Hôtel Saint-Georges (Rachid Boudjedra, Hotel Saint-Georges. Paris: Grasset, 2011) 

Jeanne, a French mother of two, travels to Algiers after she discovers the Algerian past of her father Jean. A master carpenter of ebony, Jean was enlisted to the French army during the Algerian War (1954-1962). Instead of chiseling works of art from ebony, Jean’s military service forces him to spend long hours making coffins for the dead and decaying bodies of French soldiers in Algiers. Like all former soldiers suffering from PTSD, Jean never talked about his Algerian past. However, everything about his demeanor at home indicates that he suffers from severe trauma as a result of his stay in Algiers during the war. When Jean receives a letter from a former Algerian friend, he opens up about his past, which allows his daughter Jeanne to make a journey to Algiers.  “Named Rac, Mic, Kader, Yasmina, Sidi Mohammed, Leila, Hamid, Kamel, and Zigoto, these characters’ narratives intersect with Jean’s and Jeanne’s story about the Algerian War and provide bits and pieces about the war’s impact across three generations. Told in French and Arabized French, the novel builds a cobweb of war memories around Jean’s Algerian past through Sidi Mohammed’s family.” (El Guabli, The Yearbook of Comparative Literature, forthcoming) What Hotêl Saint-Georges demonstrates is the fact that Algerian War memories are circumscribed by neither time nor space. They are rather imbricated with each other and have a lasting impact on characters beyond both the period of the war and the Algerian borders. Hôtel Saint-Georges is yet another novel that attempts to work through memories of war and their significance for the present in the Maghreb.

Tazmamart: al-zinzānah raqm 10 (Ahmad al-Marzuqi, Tazmamart: al-zinzanah raqm 10. Al-Dar al-Bayda’: Tariq lil-Nashr, 2012)

An autobiographical account of Tazmamart secret prison camp (1973-1991), Tazmamart: al-zinzānah raqm 10 tells the story of its author Aḥmad al-Marzūqī and fifty-seven other army officers and soldiers who were kidnapped and jailed in the desert jail of Tazmamart between 1973 and 1991. After their trial by a military tribunal, fifty-eight Moroccan soldiers and officers were dislocated from their legal jail in Kénitra High-Security Prison to a military base in the village of Tazmamart. For eighteen years, the disappeared soldiers and army officers lived in a human-run underworld in which they were deprived of the rudimentary necessities for survival.  Malnourished, deprived of sun, and lacking health care, thirty prisoners perished in the cruelest conditions one could imagine. However, al-Marzūqī and others survived to tell the story of those who passed away in Tazmamart. Tazmamart: al-zinzānah raqm 10 is both a chronicle of the suffering meted out to the disappeared soldiers and a celebration of their courage and incredible survival of such inhumane conditions. Beyond its meticulous depiction of the mental and physical degradation of the prisoners, a fascinating aspect of this work is its juxtaposition of the names of the dead soldiers with those of their jailers, thus allowing the present and future readers to know that political disappearance involves both victims and perpetrators. In a way, al-Marzūqī’s choice to name the perpetrators of Tazmamart is an important move that prevents future historians from granting historical impunity to these individuals. In naming them in his memoir, al-Marzūqī makes sure that these names are inscribed in a future archive.

Finally, Tazmamart: al-zinzānah raqm 10 has sold some 100,000 copies, thus becoming a literary and commercial phenomenon. Its appeal to readers of different generations has never ceased despite the fact that it was originally published almost two decades ago.

The Moor’s Account (Laila Lalami, The Moor’s Account. New York: Vintage Books, 2014)

In these imagined memoirs, Laila Lalami reconstructs the life and feats of the Moroccan slave and explorer Mostafa al-Zamori (Estevan). Kidnapped from his seaport town of Azemmour, al-Zamori was sold to a Spanish master who sails with him to America, where he becomes a leader in spite of many obstacles. Al-Zamori’s knack for languages, quick wit, and ability to connect to others allows him not only to survive, but also to tell the story of the invasion and conquest of what is known as Florida in the United States today. Al-Azmori’s imagined memoir places a Maghrebi character as a witness in the early years of the foundation of the United States of America, thus helping the readers to expand the geography of the Maghreb to include a portion of the history of the United States. Moreover, in rehabilitating the story of al-Zamori, the story of settler colonialism in the United States is told from the voice of a marginal character who draws on his resourcefulness—and oftentimes luck—to describe the subaltern perspective of a colonialist project. Throughout the narrative, al-Azmori reveals how greed and power have driven people to carry out heinous crimes against each other. The Moor’s Account is a unique attempt to historicize the conquest of America through the eyes of a mythicized slave from the Maghreb.

Forty Years, Waiting for Isabelle (Sa‘īd Khaṭībī, Arba‘ūn ‘āman fī intiẓār izābil. Algiers: Manshūrāt al-Ikhtilāf, 2016)

Sa‘īd Khaṭībī’s second novel Forty Years, Waiting for Isabelle is narrated by Joseph, a French artist who has spent the last forty years of his life in Algeria with his partner Suleiman. The latter is an illiterate man who had retired from working in France before moving back to Algeria. Isabelle Eberhart (17 February 1877- 21 October 1904) was a Swiss citizen, author, traveler, and queer anarchist, who passed and was accepted in the Maghreb under the name of Si Mahmoud Saadi. Isabelle spent some time with her/his mother in Tunisia, where they converted to Islam, before she/he settled in Algeria permanently and marrying Suleiman Ehnni. Similar to Isabelle Eberhardt’s and Suleiman Ehnni’s life together in the Algerian desert during the early 20th century, Joseph and Suleiman’s story takes place in the Sahara. Like Isabelle and Suleiman, Joseph and Suleiman are also facing the challenge of separation after a partnership of forty years due to the radicalization of the Algerian society that had been heretofore accepting of foreigners. However, it was the French who deported Isabelle Eberhardt from Algeria multiple times because of her/his connections to the Arabs (Muslims) in the country at the turn of the century. The French authorities used every legal mean they had to dislocate Isabelle from Algeria and send her/him back to Europe. For instance, Isabelle was once deported because of an attack carried out against her/him by a zealot member of the Tijāniyya Sufi order. While Isabelle was separated from Suleiman because of her/his sympathy (she also went by he) for Algerians suffering under the colonial yoke, Joseph and Suleiman’s separation would be triggered by the “Justice” party’s promise to its electoral base to confiscate and redistribute the foreigners’ property if it wins the elections. Joseph writes Forty Years, Waiting for Isabelle to imitate Isabelle although he acknowledges that “I don’t compare myself to Isabelle Eberhardt, but I will try to write something that resembles what she wrote, overcome my fear of destiny, and [face] the closeness of the time of departure from this country.” (15) Despite Suleiman’s opposition, Joseph translates Isabelle’s story into paintings that he buries in his backyard for future generations to find. This archeological project immortalizes Isabelle and allows Joseph to ensure his afterlife by imbricating his existence with Isabelle’s through his art.

Moroccan Amazigh Poets

Instead of discussing one specific work, I would like to include a group of foundational texts that contributed to the establishment of a modern Amazigh poetics in Morocco. The first Amazigh poetry collection in Morocco was published in 1968 by Mistāwī under the title Amanār (The Minaret). The following years would witness the publication of Mistāwī’s Īskrāf (Fetters, 1976), Tadṣa d iṭṭawn (Laughter and Tears, 1979), and Tāḍḍāngiwīn (Sea Waves, 1998), among others, as well as Azaykū’s Tīmītār (Signs, 1986), Ballūsh’s Awāl n wār awāl (The Voice of the Voiceless, 1996), Akhiyyāṭ’s Tābrāt(The Message, 1989), and al-Ḥusayn’s Tla aytmās (She Has Siblings, 1997) (Muḥammad ArjdālMuḥammad Usūs). These works, in addition to grappling with questions related to the rights of Amazigh people of the Maghreb, served the goal of inscribing Amazigh language and embodying its existence in written form. As literary critic Muḥammad Usūs has written, “what motivates a lot of these poets was […] the emphasis on the possibility of writing Amazigh, and not going past the accumulated oral traditions, since the very fact of writing it [Amazigh language] modernizes it.” (42) Writing in Amazigh for these poets not only gave an oral language written form, but also resisted the institutions and laws that excluded Amazigh culture from the public sphere. These poetry collections, some of which were published many decades before the official recognition of Amazigh language and culture by any Maghrebi state, deserve to be studied not only for their aesthetic importance, but also as works that historicize the different stages of Amazigh activism in the Maghreb. Literary history, in this case, is also co-constitutive of the history of the movement for Amazigh people’s cultural and political rights.

In offering these works in the first installment of an Essential Reading of Maghrebi literature, I have attended to the diversity of themes, questions, languages, and geographies of Maghrebography. In attempting to bind them together logically and narrow down the substantial body of Maghrebi writings, I have privileged themes of memory, trauma, and activism. This list would certainly change if other concerns were prioritized. I hope that this reader opens the discussion for alternative priorities in and configurations of Maghrebography. In fact, the constantly shifting nature of these literatures demands such continued conversation.



‘Abd al-Raḥmān Ballūsh, Awāl n wār awāl. Al-Ribāt: Smūnā lil-Ṭibā ‘a wal-Nashr, 1996.

Assia Djebar, Algerian White. New York: Seven Stories Press, 2000.

Aḥmad al-Marzūqī, Tazmamart: al-zinzānah raqm 10. al-Dar al-Bayḍā’: Ṭārīq lil-Nashr, 2012.

Brahim Akhiyyāṭ, Tābrāt. Al-Ribāṭ: al-Ma ‘ārif al-Jadīda, 1989.

Brahim El Guabli, “Writing against Mourning: Memory in Assia Djebar’s Franco-graphie.” The Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry, 6(1) (2019), 14-29. doi:10.1017/pli.2018.27

Brahim El Guabli, “Languages of Memory: Toward Complementarity of the Mnemonic Spheres of the Algerian War.” The Yearbook of Comparative Literature, 6 (forthcoming).

Ibrahim al-Koni, The Bleeding of the Stone. Northhampton, MA: Interlink Books, 2013.

Laila Lalami, The Moor’s Account. New York: Vintage Books, 2014.

Leïla Sebbar, The Seine Was Red: Paris, October 1961. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2008.

Muḥammad Arjdāl, “Tābrāt, risālat Ibrahim akhiyyāṭ al-shi ‘riyya.” al-Hiwār al-Mutamaddin, (2386) (2008), n.p.

Muḥammad Mistāwī,  Īskrāf. Casablanca: Dār al-Kitāb, 1976.

Muḥammad Mistāwī, Tadṣa d iṭṭawn. Casablanca: Dār al-Kitāb, 1979.

Muḥammad Mistāwī, Tāḍḍāngiwīn. Al-Muḥammadia: Maṭba‘at Fḍāla, 1998.

Manumed, Les manuscrits berbères au Maghreb et dans les collections européennes : localisation, identification, conservation et diffusion. Actes des journées d’étude d’Aix-en-Provence, 9 et 10 décembre 2002 / centre de conservation du livre-Manumed. Méolans-Revel: Atelier Perrousseaux, 2007.

Muḥammad Usūs, “ba‘ḍ al-malāmiḥ al-‘āmma lil-tajriba al-shi ‘riyya la-shbābiyya al-amāzīghiyya al-ḥadītha bisūs.” Asinag (4-5) (2010), 41-54.

Nico van den Boogert, The Berber literary tradition of the Sous ; with an edition and translation of “The Ocean of Tears” by Muḥammad Awzāl. Leiden: Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten, 1997.

Rachid Boudjedra, Hôtel Saint-Georges. Paris: Grasset, 2011.

Rashīd al-Ḥusayn, Tla aytmās. Al-Ribāṭ : Maṭb‘at al-Rīsha, 1997.

Sa‘īd Khaṭībī, Arba‘ūn ‘āman fī intiẓār izābil. Algiers: Manshūrāt al-Ikhtilāf, 2016.

Shukrī al-Mabkhūt, al-Ṭaliānī. Tunis: Dār al-Tanwīr, 2014.

Sidqī Azaykū, Tīmītār. Al-Ribāṭ: ‘Ukaz, 1988.

Youssef Fadel, A Rare Blue Bird Flies with Me. Cairo: Hoopoe, 2016.


[The Essential Readings series is curated by the Middle East Studies Pedagogy Initiative (MESPI) team at the Arab Studies Institute. MESPI invites scholars to contribute to our Essential Readings modules by submitting an “Essential Readings” list on a topic/theme pertinent to their research/specialization in Middle East studies. Authors are asked to keep the selection relatively short while providing as much representation/diversity as possible. This difficult task may ultimately leave out numerous works which merit inclusion from different vantage points. Each topic may eventually be addressed by more than one author. Articles such as this will appear permanently on and Email us at for any inquiries.]