Algerian Author Rachid Boudjedra

With his very first novel, La Répudiation, award winning Algerian writer, Rachid Boudjedra, gained a reputation for his explicit language and being outspoken in his views of Muslim traditionalism. In the literary world, he was hailed as a leader in what was seen as a new movement of experimental fiction. La Répudiation, which is said to reflect his difficult childhood, was banned in Algeria at the time of its release in 1969. Due to concerns for his safety, the author lived in France for a number of years, later moving to Rabat in Morocco, where he remained until 1975, before returning to his home country.

Born in Ain Beida, in the Ouargla Province of eastern Algeria, on September 5, 1941, Rachid Boudjedra was raised in the traditional Muslim manner. Upon completing basic education in Algeria, he continued to study in Spain and later Paris where he obtained a degree in philosophy at the prestigious Sorbonne University. His main focus of research during his studies was the controversial French writer and physician Louis-Ferdinand Destouches, better known under his nom de plume, Louis-Ferdinand Céline. Boudjedra spent some time teaching in Paris and then in the Moroccan city of Rabat before returning to Algeria where he worked for the Algerian Bureau of Cinematography.

Following on the success of his first novel, Boudjedra’s next literary offering was the novel L’Insolation (Sunstroke) where he explored different mental states, mixing dreams with reality. In 1975, his novel Topographie idéale pour une agression caractérisée< details the experiences of an illiterate Berber peasant as he tries to find work in the unfamiliar, and often hostile, environment of the city. In L’Escargot entêté (The Stubborn Snail), Boudjedra uses the mediocre life of a bureaucrat to symbolize the less than satisfactory outcome of the Algerian revolution. In 1979, his satiric novel Les 1001 Années de la nostalgie (1001 Years of Nostalgia) Boudjedra spins the tale of an ancient traditional Saharan village faced with the complexities and modernity of an American film company.

After writing a total of six novels in the French language, Rachid Boudjedra completed some works in Arabic, before writing once again in French in the mid-1990s. In addition to his novels, Boudjedra’s works include poetry and he has collaborated in writing scripts for a number of films. His awards include the Cannes Golden Palm, Festival of Carthage, and the Jean Cocteau Prix des enfants terribles. Today, Rachid Boudjedra divides his time between his homes in Algiers and Paris. His most recent novel to be published is titled Hôtel Saint Georges.