February 7, 2015
It is with extreme sadness that we mourn the great Assia Djebar, who passed away this week at the age of seventy-eight.
An admired and beloved author, translator, and filmmaker, Djebar was born Fatima-Zohra Imalayen on June 30, 1936, in the Algerian town of Cherchell. Her novels and poems boldly face the challenges and struggles she knew as a feminist living under patriarchy and an intellectual living under colonialism and its aftermath. Djebar’s writing, marked by a regal unwillingness to compromise in the face of ethical, linguistic, and narrative complexities, has attracted devoted followers around the world, and received numerous awards and recognitions, including the Venice International Critics’ Prize, the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, the Yourcenar Prize, the Frankfurt Peace Prize, and a knighthood in France’s Legion of Honor. She was the first Algerian woman to be admitted to France’s prestigious École Normale Supérieure, and the first writer from the Maghreb to be admitted to the Académie Française.
She leaves behind a legacy of more than fifteen books, which have been translated into over twenty languages, as well as two films.