Yasmina Khadra – Outstanding Algerian Author

In 1984 Mohammed Moulessehoul wrote the book ‘Houria’. Following the success of this novel, others followed, such as ‘La Fille du Pont’ in 1985, ‘El Kahira’ in 1986 and ‘De L’autre Côte de la Ville’ in 1988. Moulessehoul disappeared, and Yasmina Khadra arrived on the scene releasing ‘Le Privilege du Phenix’ in 1989 and ‘Le Dingue au Bistour’i in 1990.

Yasmina Khadra started to spread her wings as a celebrated author, releasing ‘La Foire des Enfoires’ in 1993, ‘Les Agneaux de Seigneur’ in 1998 and ‘Morituri’ in 1997. During this time, three of her novels were translated, making ‘Double Blank’, ‘Autumn of the Phantoms’ and ‘Wolf Dream’ available to the international public. But Yasmina Khadra was hiding a secret that would shock the literary world.

The year 2001 saw the release of ‘L’ecrivain’ and the announcement that Yasmina Khadra was the pen name for Mohammed Moulessehoul. Born in Algeria on 10 January 1955, Mohammed Moulessehoul grew up to find himself serving in the Algerian army during the Civil War that ravaged Algeria for years. It was during this time that he began to express himself on paper. Groomed for the military from an early age, it seems impossible for a soldier to also be a talented writer. After 1988, the military forces of Algeria told Moulessehoul that any novels written by him would have to be handed to them for censorship. Not wanting to give up his freedom of expression and speech, Mohammed stopped writing, and Yasmina Khadra started her career as a writer. Moulessehoul decided to leave the army and move to France, where he finally revealed his secret.

His most recently translated novel, ‘The Swallows of Kabul’, has been hailed as a literary masterpiece. Moulessehoul is a writer that is able to bring to life the reality of being an Afghan under the cruel domination of the Taliban. He paints a vivid picture of the hardships that are endured within Afghanistan, and the oppression that is described as pure hell. Many see Moulessehoul as the voice of the Arab women, speaking on their behalf and fighting or their freedom from pain and suffering.

Mohammed Moulessehoul has ensured the Yasmina Khadra remains an author that retells a story, without lessening the blows and down-playing situations. These magnificent novels take readers into worlds that they can only imagine, bringing home the fear and tension that people live through every day. The difference being that most readers have the luxury to close the book when scenes get too disturbing or emotional.