Moroccan Literature – A Treasure Trove of Written Arts

Over the years, Moroccan literature has grown and evolved tremendously. Books and poetry that form part of literature in Morocco have amazed, shocked and fulfilled the citizens. They have also shed light on the talents that had not yet been discovered or explored. Some of the literature in Morocco is written in Arabic, French, Berber and even in English. The diversity of Moroccan literature is truly amazing, as are the writers who pen these literary masterpieces.

Moroccan literature has been delivering wonderful pieces of poetry and writings for centuries. The University of Al Karaouine, for instance, was established in the year 859. This university can still be visited in the city of Fez today and has played a vital role in the development of literature in Morocco of the centuries. It has a proud history of nurtured talents such as Ibn Harazim, Ibn Khaldoun and Ibn Wazzan. But the most prolific and celebrated literary mind and an iconic Moroccan figure is Ibn Battuta. He published his narrative called “Rihla”, meaning “Travels”, in 1356 after he had toured from Mali through to India and even visited China.

Poetry and literature also found its way into the royal family, with Ahmed al-Mansour being famously known as the “Poet King”. This amazing Saadian ruler was in power between the years 1578 to 1603 and was one of the biggest contributors to the Taroudant library. Another significant library in Morocco, is the Moroccan National Library that was established in 1920. It was constructed in Rabat and is still functioning as a leading library. The University Library in the city of Fez and the Library of Casablanca are also amongst the most important literary establishments in Morocco.

Morocco became a literary sanctuary during the 1950’s and 1960’s. Well-known authors such as William S. Burroughs, Paul Bowles and Tennessee Williams flocked to Morocco for inspiration and to enjoy the literary freedom of the country. Many native Moroccans also bloomed during this time, including Driss El Khori, Mohamed Choukri and Driss Chraibi. Authors such as Mohamed Zefzaf and Abdellah Laroui are noted for writing in Arabic. Driss Chraibi made a massive impact on the Moroccan public with his French novel “Le Passe Simple”, or “The Past Tense”, that was published in 1954. He went on to write the “Naissance a l’aube” in 1986, which was later translated to English in 1990.

Moroccan literature is an intricately woven quilt of novels, poetry, essays, documents, biographies, historiography, science and natural science. It encompasses a diverse range of subjects, shocking revelations and triumphant writers and novelist.

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