The Algerian novelist and poet Dihia Louiz (also Dihya Lwiz, whose given name was Louiza Aouzelleg) died on Friday, following an illness. The 32-year-old author, who died on the anniversary of fellow Algerian novelist Assia Djebar’s birth, was in her hometown of Bejaia:
Author Youssef Zirem told Le Matin d’Algérie that Louiz had a “crazy talent” in “Kabyle, Arabic and French.”
Louiz was born in the northern port city of Bejaia in 1985, the capital of Kabylia’s Bejaia province. She wrote her first poem at age 13, according to Algeria’s Press Service.
While her two first novels were in Arabic, her most recent, Mohammed Dib Prize-winning novel, published in 2016, was written in Tamazight.
Louiz’s final published work was a Tamazight poem posted to her public Facebook page on June 27.
Along with other Tamazight-writing Moroccan, Algerian, and Libyan authors, Louiz contributed to a collection of short stories called Ifssan N Tamunt, or The Seeds of Union, which was published in 2013.
“It’s my mother language,” Louiz told ArabLit in a 2014 interview ahead of her appearance at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair. “So it’s easy to write [in Tamazight] about some matters close to my community and its traditions.”
Louiz first caught critics’ attention five years ago, at just twenty-six, with her debut novel A Body Inside Me (2012). It was published by Algeria’s TIRA editions and explores new motherhood. Her second novel, I Throw Myself in Front of You (2013), was co-published in Algeria and Beirut. Her most recent novel, Gar igenni d tmurt, or Between Heaven and Earth, took the Mohammed Dib Prize, in the Tamazight category, in 2016.
Read the 2014 interview with Louiz.