Tahar Ben Jelloun
|Criticism & Awards|
After attending a bilingual (Arabic-French) elementary school, Ben Jelloun studied in the Lycée Regnault in Tangier, Morocco, until he was 18 years old. He continued his studies in philosophy at Mohammed V University in Rabat, where he composed his first poems (collected in Hommes sous linceul de silence (1971).
After that point, Ben Jelloun worked as a professor in Morocco, teaching philosophy first in Tétouan and then in Casablanca. However, he left Morocco in 1971, after the Arabization of the philosophy department, unable or unwilling to teach in Arabic. He moved to Paris to continue his studies in psychology, and began to write more extensively.
Starting in 1972, Ben Jelloun began to write articles and reviews for the French newspaper Le Monde, and in 1975 he received his doctorate in social psychiatry. Using his experience with psychotherapy as both a reference and an inspiration, he wrote the book La Réclusion solitaire in 1976.
In 1985, Ben Jelloun published the novel L'Enfant de sable, which was widely celebrated. He won the Prix Goncourt in 1987 for his novel La Nuit Sacrée.
In 1997, he saw his novel Le Racisme expliqué à ma fille published, wherein he "explains racism to his daughter", using his family as inspiration for his novels. He is regularly asked to give speeches and lectures at universities worldwide - both in Morocco, and all over Europe.
In 2004, Ben Jelloun was awarded the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for This Blinding Absence of Light (translated from the French by Linda Coverdale). He was rewarded the Prix Ulysse in 2005 for the entirety of his work.
In September 2006, Ben Jelloun was awarded a special prize for "peace and friendship between people" at Lazio between Europe and the Mediterranean Festival.
Ben Jelloun is married and father of four children. He lives in Paris.
In his novel Leaving Tangier, Ben Jelloun writes about a Moroccan brother and sister who leave their impoverished home in search of better lives in Spain. This novel sheds a cold light on a side of North African life that is often overlooked and at times unimaginable; he is unflinching in his commitment to expose the sacrifice and pain inherent in the struggle to rise above poverty and move within the Western world. Leaving Tangier centres on the paths of Azel and his sister, Kenza, as they seek to reinvent their lives, in Barcelona, and how their paths diverge once they get there. Each sibling’s ambition rests in the hands of Miguel, a mysterious wealthy older Spaniard, and a man generous and loving one moment, demanding and cruel the next. Miguel’s power lies in what he can offer the siblings—and in what he can take away.
His novels L'Enfant de sable and La Nuit sacrée are translated into 43 languages. Le racisme expliqué à ma fille has been translated into 33 languages. He has participated in translating many of his works.
Selected works 
- Harrouda (1973)
- Solitaire (1976)
- French Hospitality (1984)
- The Sand Child (1985)
- The Sacred Night (1987)
- Silent Day in Tangiers (1990)
- With Downcast Eyes (1991)
- State of Absence (1992)
- Corruption (1995)
- The Fruits of Hard Work (1996)
- Praise of Friendship (1996)
- L'Auberge des pauvres (1997)
- Racism Explained to My Daughter (1998)
- This Blinding Absence of Light (2000)
- Islam Explained (2002)
- La Belle au bois dormant (2004)
- The last friend (2006)
- Yemma (2007)
- Leaving Tangier (2009)
- The Rising of the Ashes (2009) ISBN 978-0-87286-526-6.
- A Palace in the Old Village (2010)
References and notes 
- "Italy Lazio cultural festival awards Moroccan author". Morocco Times.com. Archived from the original on 2006-11-25. Retrieved 2006-09-25.
- ""Leaving Tangier" By Tahar Ben Jelloun". Retrieved 2010-08-04.
- Rawafed: documentary interview Tahar Ben Jelloun "part one". Alarabiya.net
- Rawafed: documentary interview Tahar Ben Jelloun "part two". Alarabiya.net
- Homepage of Tahar Ben Jelloun
- Shusha Guppy (Fall 1999). "Tahar ben Jelloun, The Art of Fiction No. 159". The Paris Review.
- - "Dialogue interculturel et complaisance esthétique dans l'oeuvre de Tahar Ben Jelloun", Par Salah NATIJ, in website Ma'duba / Invitation à l'adab, Le Premier Amour est Toujours le Dernier moha le fou, moha le sage.
- "Tahar Ben Jelloun's The Rising of the Ashes", City Lights.
- "Tahar Ben Jelloun Art Review: The Roots of Times", Morocco Newsline, 15 December 2009.
- Tahar Ben Jelloun: The Arab Spring - The Comfortable Way to Take Part in a Revolution
- A 2011 interview with Tahar Ben Jelloun in Exberliner Magazine