Edmond Amran El Maleh

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Edmond Amran El Maleh

Edmond Amran El Maleh (Arabic: ادمون عمران المالح‎) (30 March 1917 – 15 November 2010) was one of the best known Moroccan writers.


El Maleh was born in Safi, Morocco to a Jewish family. He moved to Paris in 1965, working there as a journalist and a teacher of philosophy.

He only began writing in 1980, at the age of 63, traveling back and forth between France and Morocco. He stated that, in spite of his long stay in France, he had devoted his entire literary life to Morocco. From 1999 until his death he lived in Rabat.[1][2]He was an anti-zionist and declared that his father had taught him in the synagogue that zionism had nothing to do with judaism , and that what jews were doing to Palestinians was against the principles of the jewish faith. He remained as a result isolated and ignored by most of the Moroccan jewish community, and his name was made part of a list of anti-semites by the jewish zionist settlers in Palestine. He was buried, according to his wishes, in the Jewish cemetery in Essaouira. His writing language was French.


  • Parcours immobile (Maspero, 1983)
    • In the words of El Maleh: "Ce livre reflète un désir de plus en plus affirmé d'approfondir mon enracinement dans la culture marocaine, où j'ai tenté non pas de transcrire mais de faire revivre mon expérience de jeune juif marocain ayant lutté contre le colonialisme et ensuite militant au sein du mouvement communiste." (This book reflects a desire to deepen more and more the sense that I'm rooted in the Moroccan culture, where I've tried not to copy but to relive my experience of a young Moroccan Jew who fought against colonialism and as a militant within the communist movement)
  • Abner, Abnour (La Pensée sauvage/Le Fennec, 1996).
  • Le café bleu. Zrirek (La pensée sauvage, 1999)
  • Mille ans, un jour (Le Fennec, 1990 – André Dimanche, 2002 (1986))
  • Le Retour d'Abou El Haki (La Pensée sauvage, 1990).
  • Jean Genet, Le Captif amoureux et autres essais (La Pensée sauvage/Toubkal, 1988 )
  • Aïlen ou la nuit du récit (La Découverte, 1983, réédité par André Dimanche, 2000)
  • Parcours immobile (Maspéro, 1980 puis réédité par André Dimanche, 2001) : Roman
  • La maIle de Sidi Maâchou (Al Manar 1998)
  • Essaouira Cité heureuse
  • Une femme, une mère (éditions Lixus, Tanger 2004)

About his work[edit]

Following his first novel – Le parcours immobile (1983) – he published seven further novels and a book about the painting of Cherkaoui.

In 1996 he received the Grand Prix du Maroc for his work. The translation of 'Edmond Amran El Maleh, "Le retour d'Abou El Haki" (éditions la Pensée sauvage) by Hassan Bourkia received a special prize from the minister of culture Mohammed Achaari in 2005.


  1. ^ Salim Jay, Dictionnaire des écrivains marocains, Eddif, 2005, p.176-179
  2. ^ "Petite biographie d'un très grand écrivain" (in French). www.aujourdhui.ma. Archived from the original on 25 March 2012. Retrieved 12 August 2010.

Further reading[edit]

  • Bou'Azza Ben'Achir, Cheminements d'une écriture (1997). 238 pages. ISBN 2-7384-5217-5
  • Vogl, Mary B., 2003, "It Was and It Was Not So: Edmond Amran El Maleh Remembers Morocco," International Journal of Francophone Studies 6.2, 71–85.
  • "Taksiat," short story from the collection Abner Abounour by Edmond Amran El Maleh, reprinted with an English translated by Lucy R. McNair, Contemporary French and Francophone Studies/Sites, April 2007, Vol. 11, Issue 2. In same issue, an interview with Moroccan painter Yamou with reference to El Maleh.

External links[edit]

  • The Writer Edmond Amran El Maleh: A Moroccan Jew with Arabo-Berber Roots Qantara.de
  • El Maleh's political views
  • El Maleh decorated by King Mohamed VI
  • Annie Devergnas-Dieumegard, 'El Maleh, un humaniste enraciné dans un unique paysage, le Maroc'
    • "Edmond Amran El Maleh’s first work of fiction, Parcours immobile, has been well received and is considered one of the most highly original and valuable creations among Maghrebian and francophone literature. In this novel can be found the basic features of his works, which belong to both the autobiographical and the historical genre, as it depicts the Jewish Moroccan society throughout the first half of the twentieth century. The theme of personal death – the memories of an unhealthy childhood – is linked to the account of the progressive disappearing of this community in the middle of the century. But it is essentially El Maleh’s writing style which is remarkable. Non-chronological, metaphorical, close to orality, almost without punctuation, it gives true historical facts a puzzling subjectivity. This study seeks to show how this singular writer, whose works cannot be parted from his life, uses writing as the only way to keep alive his own past, along with the remembrance of the now-vanished Jewish community of Morocco."
  • minorities.org report of The Independent (7 Oct 2005) dubbing El-Maleh the "Moroccan James Joyce"