Beyond the Barbed Wire
Abdellatif Laâbi is a poet, novelist, playwright, translator and political activist. He was born in Fez, Morocco in 1942. In the 1960s, Laâbi was the founding editor of Souff les, or Breaths, a widely-inf luential literary review that was banned in 1972, at which point Laâbi was imprisoned for eight and a half years. Laâbi’s most recent accolades include the Prix Goncourt de la Poésie for his Oeuvres complètes (Collected Poems) in 2009, and the Académie française’s Grand Prix de la Francophonie in 2011. His work has been translated into Arabic, Spanish, German, Italian, Dutch, Turkish and English. Laâbi himself has translated into French the works of Mahmoud Darwish, Abdul Wahab al-Bayati, Mohammed Al-Maghout, Saâdi Youssef, Abdallah Zrika, Ghassan Kanafani, and Qassim Haddad.
André Naffis-Sahely’s debut collection of poetry, The Promised Land, will be published by Penguin in 2017. He has translated works by Honoré de Balzac, Émile Zola, Alessandro Spina, Rashid Boudjedra, Tahar Ben Jelloun, and Abdellatif Laâbi, among various others.