Khaled Najar [ Tunisia ]
Khaled Najar was born in Tunis in 1949. He is descended from a Bedouin family from the south of the country. At the end of the 1960's he published his first poems and began to work as a journalist. He has written for various Arabic newspapers and magazines, including »Almostaqbal« and »Al Watan Al-Arabi«, as well as »Alhayat«, and was a member of the editorial team of »Akbar El Adab« in Cairo. In addition, he undertook journalistic work for UNESCO in Paris.
Najar is a knowledgeable connoisseur of Arab as well as of occidental culture and is recognised as the most lyrical poet in the francophone literature of Tunisia. However, as yet, he has only published one collection of poems, the »Poèmes pour un ange perdu« (1990; t: Poems for a lost angel). While most definitely anchored in the Arab tradition, the volume is influenced greatly by French literature and presents concentrated, melodious pieces of work. With their seminal utilisation of imagery from nature – sand, wind, sun, water, night are all regularly used terms – they would, through their lightness and harmonic alliance of opposites, call to mind haikus, were it not for their dramatically inscribed feeling of sacrifice and yearning. Najar's poems have been translated into English, German, Spanish, Danish and Italian. He himself has emerged as a productive translator and, amongst others, has translated poems by Lorca, Valéry, Ungaretti, Saint John Perse, André Velter, Lorand Gaspar, Michel Butor, Georges Schehadé and Etel Adnan into Arabic. Many of his translations have been published as monographs.
In 1991 Najar founded the Tawbaad publishing house, which produces the bilingual newspaper »Le Livre des questions« and, with the help of renowned authors such as Adonis or Michel Butor, presents literary texts and cultural debates in Arabic and French. Without fear of polemic confrontation the publication presents Arab and European perspectives alongside one another.
The author has undertaken numerous trips throughout North America, Europe and the Orient, which he has catalogued in reports such as »Les solitudes de Coghnawagha« (t: Forms of loneliness in Coghnawagha), which deals with Native Americans. He has also interviewed writers such as Alberto Moravia, Nagib Mahfouz and Yannis Ritsos. Najar lives in Tunis.
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