Mahi Binebine [ Morocco ]
Mahi Binebine was born in Marrakesh in 1959. From 1980 he studied Mathematics in Paris, and later taught the subject for many years in Paris. He lived in New York from 1994 to 1999. Following a short return to Paris, he went back to the city of his birth in 2002.
Binebine is not just active as an author, but is also a successful and respected painter. Some of his works are in the collection of the Guggenheim Museum in New York.
His career as a writer began in 1992 with the publication of his novel »Le Sommeil d'esclave« (1992, tr: The Slave Girl's Sheep). In his novels Binebine frequently uses marginalised characters in hopeless situations. He often begins with a presentation of these characters at a particularly precarious time in their lives; in the ensuing pages the story of the protagonist's life is unfolded through flashbacks or internal monologues. »Pollen« (2001, tr: Pollen) for example is about Pierrot, a Frenchman with Kabyle roots, who is seeking his fortune in Morocco and gradually drifts, in a drugged daze, into madness. »Cannibales« (1999, Eng. »Welcome to Paradise«, 2004) is about the tragic fates .- and especially the motivation for emigrating – of illegal refugees who try to secretly pass the Gibraltar Straits in tiny boats. »Terre d'ombre brûlée« (2004, tr: Burned Umber Earth), inspired by the fate of the painter Gharbaoui, is about a Moroccan painter who freezes to death on a park bench in Paris following the failure of his career in the city.
Experiences of loss are also present in »Les Funérailles du lait« (1994, tr: Mamaya's Last Journey), a novel about his mother which touches on the fate of his brother, Aziz Binebine, who was an unwilling participant in the failed coup attempt in Skhirat in 1971, and was then held for years in the Morocco's notorious Tazmamart prison. »Le Griot de Marrakech« (2006, tr: The Singer of marrakesh), Binebine's most recent publication to date, is a much lighter; a homage to Marrakesh presented largely through short autobiographical texts.
Binebine's novels, rich in plot and history, are mostly bound to a realistic literary aesthetic written in a clear, concise voice. They have been translated into various languages, including German and English. He has been awarded the Prix méditerranée and the Prix de l'amitié Franco-Arabe for his literary accomplishments. Mahi Binebine lives as an independent painter and writer in Marrakesh.
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