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Assia Djebar (1936–2015)

Author of Fantasia: An Algerian Cavalcade

Includes the names: Djebar Assia, Assia Djébar, Alessia Djebar

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Assia Djebar was the pen name of Fatma-Zohra Imalhayène, born to a Berber family in Cherchell, Algeria. She was educated in Algeria and then at the elite École normale supérieure de jeunes filles in France. She earned a B.A. at the Sorbonne in Paris in 1956 and a Ph.D. at Paul Valéry University, Montpellier III in 1999. Her first novel, La Soif (The Mischief), was published in 1957, followed by Les Impatients (The Impatient Ones, 1958). She taught history at the University of Rabat and the University of Algiers, and also was a filmmaker, poet, and playwright. She was married and divorced twice, including to Walid Garn, with whom she collaborated on the 1969 play Rouge L’Aube (Red Dawn). Other works included Les Enfants du nouveau monde (Children of the New World, 1962), Les Alouettes naïves (The Naive Larks, 1967), Poèmes pour l’Algérie heureuse (Poems for a Happy Algeria, 1969), Femmes d’Alger dans leur appartement (Women of Algiers in Their Apartment, 1980), L’Amour, la fantasia (Fantasia: An Algerian Cavalcade, 1985), Ombre sultane (A Sister to Scheherazade, 1987), and Vaste est la prison (So Vast the Prison, 1994), as well as the semi-autobiographical Le Blanc de l’Algérie (Algerian White, 1995). She moved to the USA in 1995 and taught French literature at Louisiana State University and at New York University. In 2005, she was elected to the Académie française, the fifth woman and the first writer from North Africa to be elected.
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