Leila Abouzeid

(1950 - )

Abouzeid was born in
Morocco in 1950. She is on of few North African writers to choose to write in Arabic rather than in French, the language of their schooling. After studying at the Mohamed V University in Rabat and The University of Texas, Austin, she began her career as a radio and TV journalist. She is a Former Fellow of the World Press Institute at St. Paul, Minnesota, which she left in 1992 to dedicate herself to writing fiction.

In addition to poetry, newspaper articles, short stories, and translations, she has published four books: Year of the Elephant in 1984, a novel, (English translation, 1990), Return to Childhood: The Memoir of a Modern Moroccan Woman in 1993, an autobiography, (English translation, 1998) and The Last Chapter in 2003, a semi-autobiographical work about identity, gender, and male-female relations, and The Director and Other Stories from Morocco in 2006.

Return to Childhood is a narrative of her family’s struggles during the nationalist fight for independent. In the political upheavals in the Arab and Muslim world, women have played a critical supporting role in the fight for the country’s independence and against colonialism and occupation. But once the fighting is over, men and society have expected women to return to their restricted traditional roles. Abouzeid reveals the contradictions and ambiguities that face women in particular.
Abuzeid’s work is translated from Arabic into English, German, Dutch, Spanish, French, Italian, Turkish, Urdu and Maltese.

Reference: http://www.utexas.edu/utpress/excerpts/exaborep.html