Mohammed Achaari [ Morocco ]
Mohammed Achaari was born in Moulay Driss Zerhoun, Marokko, in 1951. He studied law at Mohammed V University, Rabat, graduating in 1975. He started his literary career with a short story «Waiting for the Death of the Father» in 1967 and his first collection of poetry, »Sahil Al Khail Al Jariha« (1978; Tr. Neighing of the Wounded Horse), was published in 1978. In addition to his career as a poet and author, Achaari has had a very successful political career. In 1997 he was elected as a counsellor for the Rabat Akdal district, then as parliamentary deputy to Rabat and later Meknes – Zarhoun. In 1998, he became Minister of Culture, and went on to serve as Minister of Culture and of Communications both in 2000 and then from 2002 to 2007. He has twice been elected president of the Moroccan Union of Writers.
Since the publication of his first poetry collection in 1978, Achaari has published ten collections of poetry, two novels and one collection of short stories. His first novel »Junub Al Ruh« (1996; Tr. South of the Soul) received great acclaim and his most recent book »Al Qawa wa Al Farasha« (2010 ; Tr. The Arch and the Butterfly) was the joint winner of the 2011 International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF). The book explores the effect of terrorism on family life with the story of a left-wing father who one day receives a letter from Al-Qaeda informing him that his son, who he believes is studying in Paris, has died a martyr in Afghanistan.
Although he is better known as a poet, Achaari claims the medium of the novel offers him »a new dimension of addressing people – how to evoke their imagination and change their insights and their orientations«. His latest book deals, in the words of the IPAF 2011 Chair of Judges, Fadhil al-Azzawi, »with Islamic extremism and terrorism and its destructive effect upon Arabic society itself, rather than on the West«. Achaari believes Arab readers are willing to engage with such themes, stating that they are, »now looking forward to reading books that respect their intelligence«. His collections have been published in Baghdad, Beirut and Casablanca, and some works have been translated into French, Spanish, Russian and Dutch.
Mohammed Achaari lives in Rabat, Marokko.
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