From the International Prize for Arabic Fiction official biography and book description:
Ahmed al-Madeeni is a Moroccan writer, born in 1947. He studied at the University of Morocco, the University of Paris 8, and the Sorbonne, where he gained his doctorate. He has published a number of novels and short story collections as well as works of literary criticism. His complete works were published in five volumes by the Moroccan Ministry of Culture in 2014. He won the Moroccan Prize for Literary Criticism in 2006 and the Moroccan Prize for the short story in 2009. He holds an academic post in higher education.
Willow Alley tells the story of a bustling, ancient Moroccan town which hides many secrets, where residents struggle to live in peace while at the mercy of a few arrogant and despotic individuals. Focusing on the struggle between the caretaker of a building under construction and a group of people clinging to their land in order to survive, the novel examines the individual’s right to exist in a country where lives are vulnerable to exploitation and the powerful thrive at the expense of the weak.