Leila Sebbar, the Franchophone Writer.

Sangita Karki By Sangita Karki, 13th Sep 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Books>Biography

Its a short bio about Leila Sebbar, the French Writer.

Leila Sebbar

The author of Maghrebian origin, Leila Sebbar, often known as “Francophone” writer, was born in 1941 in Aflou, in the district of Oran, Algeria. She was a daughter of an Algerian father and French mother, who were both teachers. Being grown up in the family, where mother was French and studied in the school where only French language was allowed, she adopted maternal language as a primary language from her childhood. In 1957, during the period of war for the independence, Sebbar’s father, Mohamed, who was an administrator in the French Colonial system, was jailed for a few months by the French military. Due to the war, her father had to struggle hard to protect his family balancing the relationship between the Algerian revolutionary and French colonial.

After completing her higher school studies from Bugeaud in Algiers, Sebbar left Algeria and moved to Aix-en-Provence, France, for her university education. She spent her two years at the University of Aix-en-Provence studying Literature, where she founded the first film library with her fellow students. In 1963, Sebbar shifted to Paris and started teaching French Literature. Leila along with her several fellows including a Canadian writer Nancy Huston, founded the feminist journal Histoires d’elles (The story of them), which lasted for three years, 1976-80. During the same time, she contributed to another renowned feminist magazine Witches, which was founded by Xaviere Gauthier. From 1979 to 1981, Sebbar worked for the newspaper Immigration and the Third World, where she used to write a column “Memoirs of immigration” in the form of interviews. For next several years, she served to the several literary journals, The Fortnight Literary, Magazine Literary, Literary moments including Stars Inks and Radio- France.

The first full length novel of Leila Sebbar, the author of eight novels and several collections of short stories, is Fatima, or the Algerian Women in the Square, which was published in 1981 with a theme of the lives of Algerian immigrants and exile. Her second work of fiction, Sherazade Trilogy, which includes Sherazade (1982), The Books Sherazade (1985) and The Mad Sherazade (1991), established her as the pioneer of the Beur literature of the second generation of Maghreb immigrants. Besides these achievements, her novel Silence of the shores which presents the life of middle aged male immigrant who was caught in between conflict of Algeria and France, rewarded her with Prix Kateb Yacine prize in 1993 adding another successful moment in her life. Like other novel, Sebbar’s most recent novel, My Dear Son, also deals with the subject of the destiny of Maghreb immigrant families in France.

Leila Sebbar is the first female French writer who used writing and fiction “to explore and affirm the problematic complexity of a bicultural identity combining two societies,” Algeria and France, “historically in conflict”. She says her main motivation of writing was her exile. If she was in Algeria, according to Sebbar, her writing would not have been shaped in a way to raise the voice of Magrebian immigrants in France.

"If I had stayed in my father's country, my native land with which I have such an ambiguous history, I wouldn't have written, because to make that choice would have been to become one with a land, a language; becoming so joined, one's too close to have a clear view or an ear: you don't write, you're not in a position to write. . . . What I write is in homage to Algeria for my father".

She dedicated her most of the writings to her homeland and Maghrebian immigrants in France. Though she is not a Beur, she mainly tries to explore and interpret the world of the Beurs living in the urban ghettos of France through her novels. In addition her novels hold the message that today Beur culture is trapped in between its origination, North African culture and new dominant European culture, so there is a need of redefining the Beur culture in terms of both the culture of origin in North Africa and dominant culture in Europe. Sebbar, who does not speak her Algerian father’s language, still lives in Paris and often returns to her father land through her novels, novellas and autobiographical narratives.

Maghrebian: Inhabitants of Maghreb countries (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and sometimes Libya)
Francophone: French speaking person.
Beur: French born people whose parents are from Maghreb countries.


Biography, Review

Meet the author

author avatar Sangita Karki
Expertscolumn- Get Paid to Write Articles

Share this page

moderator Peter B. Giblett moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know


author avatar vpaulose
14th Sep 2012 (#)

Interesting. Thank you Sangita.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Pabitra
16th Sep 2012 (#)

got to know about some new people thank you

Reply to this comment

author avatar Shrijana
16th Sep 2012 (#)

Good piece.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Denise O
17th Sep 2012 (#)

To my shame, I have yet to hear about this very accomplished woman Leila Sebbar, yet alone read her work. I must check into her. A well written piece, it was interesting, kept me captivated to the end and as a writer, you can not ask for more, well done! I look forward to reading more of your work but at this time, I have my (whom is still asleep) precious grandson here with me until Wednesday and he must come first, so just a short drop in for now. Thank you for sharing.:)

Reply to this comment

author avatar Sangita Karki
19th Sep 2012 (#)

Thank you, and of course ur grandson first.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Michel
2nd Oct 2012 (#)

I read her novel "Sherazade". Good writer.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Shrestha
3rd Oct 2012 (#)

good info.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Sabita
4th Oct 2012 (#)

great post

Reply to this comment

author avatar Lovelythoughts
4th Oct 2012 (#)

Seems very interesting.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Sweetgirl
4th Oct 2012 (#)

Beautiful post

Reply to this comment

author avatar Sanu Shrestha
6th Oct 2012 (#)

Beautiful post Sangita!

Reply to this comment

author avatar Maharjan.S
6th Oct 2012 (#)

Beautifully composed.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Ms. Christina
6th Oct 2012 (#)

Interesting. Thank you for sharing.

Reply to this comment

Add a comment
Can't login?