Amin Maalouf

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Amin Maalouf
Amin Maalouf par Claude Truong-Ngoc novembre 2013.jpg
Amin Maalouf by Claude Truong-Ngoc, 2013.
Born (1949-02-25) 25 February 1949 (age 67)
Beirut, Lebanon
Occupation Writer, scholar and novelist
Language French
Notable works Leo the African, Rock of Tanios, The Crusades Through Arab Eyes, and Samarkand

Amin Maalouf (Arabic: أمين معلوف‎‎; born 25 February 1949) is a Lebanese-born French[1] author who has lived in France since 1976.[2] Although his native language is Arabic, he writes in French, and his works have been translated into over 40 languages. "He is a literary giant."[3][4]


Maalouf was born in Beirut, Lebanon and grew up in the Badaro cosmopolitan neighborhood,[5] the second of four children. His parents had different cultural backgrounds. His mother was born in Egypt, where her father, a Maronite Christian married to a woman born in Turkey, had gone for work. His Lebanese father was from the Melkite Greek Catholic community. Maalouf's mother was a staunch Catholic who insisted on sending him to Collège Notre Dame de Jamhour, a French Jesuit school. He studied sociology at the Francophone Université Saint-Joseph in Beirut.

He worked as the director of the Beirut-based daily newspaper An-Nahar until the start of the Lebanese civil war in 1975, when he moved to Paris, which became his permanent home.

Maalouf's first book, The Crusades through Arab Eyes, 1983, examined the period on the basis of contemporaneous Arabic sources.[6]

Besides novels, he has written four texts for musical compositions and several works of non-fiction, of which Crusades through Arab Eyes is probably the best known.[1]


In 1993, Maalouf was awarded the Prix Goncourt for his novel Le rocher de Tanios, set in 19th-century Lebanon.[7][8] In 2010 he received the Prince of Asturias Award for Literature for his work, an intense mix of suggestive language, historic affairs in a Mediterranean mosaic of languages, cultures and religions and stories of tolerance and reconciliation.

He received the Prix Goncourt in 1993 for his novel Le rocher de Tanios (English: The Rock of Tanios). He was awarded the Prince of Asturias Award for Literature in 2010. He was elected a member of the Académie française on 23 June 2011 to fill seat 29, left vacant by the death of anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss.[9] Maalouf is the first person of Lebanese heritage to receive that honor.[6]

Maalouf has been awarded honorary doctorates by the Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium), the American University of Beirut (Lebanon), the Rovira i Virgili University (Spain), and the University of Évora (Portugal).[2]

In 2016 he won 1 million dirhams with the Cultural Personality of the Year Award at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.[3]


Maalouf's novels are marked by his experiences of civil war and migration. Their characters are itinerant voyagers between lands, languages, and religions and he prefers to write about "our past".



All Maalouf's librettos have been written for the Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho.

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Amin Maalouf" Archived 27 December 2012 at the Wayback Machine., Modern Arab writers.
  2. ^ a b "About the author", with Amin Maalouf.
  3. ^ a b Ghazal, Rym (2 May 2016). "Cultural Personality of the Year Award winner Amin Maalouf: 'I prefer to write about our past'". The National. 
  4. ^ "Amin Maalouf". Prestige Magazine. 2015-01-12. Retrieved 2016-10-17. 
  5. ^ Amine Maalouf Bedroom
  6. ^ a b "Lebanese novelist Amin Maalouf joins elite French Academy", The Daily Star, 15 June 2012.
  7. ^ Reuters (9 November 1993). "Amin Maalouf wins top French book award". Toronto Star.
  8. ^ Annie Coppermann, "Amin Maalouf, lauréat attendu du prix Goncourt" (in French), Les Echos (9 November 1993).
  9. ^ "Amin Maalouf entre à l'Académie française". Le Monde. 14 June 2012. Retrieved 10 October 2015. 
  10. ^ "Le palmarès" (in French). Académie Goncourt. Archived from the original on 6 November 2009. Retrieved 27 November 2009. 
  11. ^ "Prix Méditerranée". Prix. 

External links[edit]