Bulaq 53: ‘Murder, They Wrote’

Our guest this week was once told there were no Algerian crime novels. She begs to differ:

In this episode — recorded between Rabat, Paris, and Amman — we discuss the many examples of crime-writing and its evolutions in Algeria, Morocco and Egypt.

Show Notes:

Nadia Ghanem regularly covers Algerian and Moroccan literature — particularly crime fiction — for ArabLit. She has a wonderful crime-lit overview, “The Story of 50 Years of Algerian Crime Fiction in 60+ Books,” and also a short translation of a work by Chawki Amari, ‘Murder at Algiers’ Book Fair’.

A few of Nadia’s favorite Algerian crime novels: Adel s’emmele by Salim Aissa (ENAL editions, 1988)Kharidj el-Saytara (خارج السيطرة) by Abdelatif Ould Abdellah (El-Ikhtilef editions,  2016), Sakarat Nedjma (سكرات نجمة) by Amel Bouchareb (Chihab editions, 2015), 1994 by Adlene Meddi (Barzakh editions, Algeria, also released in France by Rivage editions in 2018), La prière du Maure by Adlene Meddi  (Barzakh editions, 2008), Le casse-tête turc by Adlene Meddi (Barzakh editions, 2002).

Yasmina Khadra is the pen name of Algerian writer Mohammed Moulessehoul. He has written many books, including a series of brilliant detective novels, which have also been translated into English.

The Moroccan writer Driss Chraibi’s Inspector Ali is the hero of his acclaimed detective novels.

The 2017 Egyptian noir film The Nile Hilton Incident take place just before the outbreak of the Arab Spring in Cairo.

Nael Eltoukhy, author of Women of Karantina (tr. Robin Moger), wrote “Some Advice on Avoiding Censorship” for the Summer 2020 crime-themed issue of ArabLit Quarterly.

Ahmed Mourad’s Vertigoalso tr. Moger, follows a story of crime and corruption through a photographer-sleuth’s lens.

Elias Khoury’s White Masks is his only murder-mystery; it has been translated by Maia Tabet.

Several of Abdelilah Hamdouchi’s crime novels have been translated and published by Hoopoe.