Nadia Guendouz

(1940 -1992)

Born in the Casbah in Algeria in 1932, she was only fourteen years old when the Algerian War of Independence began in 1954. This war lasted eight years, and it had a profound effect on Nadia Guendouz. Often sick in her adolescence, she spent much time in the hospital where she read to pass the time. She also took a correspondence course in nursing.


She went to France for medical treatment in the early 1950s and at this time she joined the Front de Libération National and was imprisoned for her activism for the Algerian cause. When she was released, she left France and returned to for good to Algeria, saying that living imprisoned in her own country was worth more to her than living in a paradise away from home.


Women played an active and important role in the Algerian War of Independence; however, only a few years after the war, it seemed completely forgotten as laws and social norms became more and more restrictive to women. Guendouz’s first anthology of poetry, titled Amal (Hope),was published in 1968. Her second, La Corde, published in 1974, gave voice to her anger and frustration with Algerian society, accusing it of neglecting Algerian women.


She was long an activist for women’s rights in Algeria; among other things, she lobbied for the inclusion of women in the General Union of Algerian Workers. She was a member of the National Union of Algerian Writers, and received many writers, poets, and intellectuals into her home. In 1988, Nadia was imprisoned by the Algerian government for three days; she never completely recovered from this ordeal. She died in 1992.