Algerian Novelist Tahar Wattar Dies at 74

Thanks to Pebble in my Shoe for alerting me.

Wattar's novel Al Laz

Tahar Wattar, one of Algeria’s leading Arab-language writers, has died, according to a friend and an Algerian news service.

The friend, author Wassini Laaredj, told The Associated Press that Wattar died Thursday after a “long illness.” According to the AP, Wattar had been hospitalized for cancer treatment on various occasions.

Wattar’s Al Laz, published in 1974 and named for its protagonist, was voted #74 on the list of the Arab Writers’ Union’s top 105 Arabic novels. Al Laz was Wattar’s first novel. I don’t believe Al Laz has made it into English, but you can find Wattar’s The Earthquake, translated by Bill/William Granara, from Saqi Books.

According to Aomar Ouali at The Associated Press:

Born in Sedratta, in the eastern region of Batna, some 420 kilometers (260 miles) from Algiers, Wattar had his first story published in 1956, in neighboring Tunisia, but turned to journalism before launching into novels. He founded weekly newspapers in the eastern city of Constantine and in Algiers in 1963, according to his cultural association.

He remained active in publishing, founding a magazine dedicated to short stories in 1996, among other things.

More about Tahar Wattar:

By Debbie Cox, The Novels of Tahar Wattar: Command or Critique?

The Wikipedia entries on Wattar, in French or in Arabic.

Wattar receiving the 2005 Sharjah prize.