Yasmina Khadra, nom de plume of Mohamed Moulessehoul, is a former officer in the Algerian army. He has been writing since 1984, when the reading public discovered his first novel Morituri. His other novels have all been extremely successful. In 2006 he won the Bookseller’s Award for The Attack and in 2008, the France Television prize for What the Day Owes the Night. This novel was voted best novel of 2008. Today Yasmina Khadra’s books are translated into 33 languages. Most of his novels have been adapted for the cinema. He is currently director of the Algerian Cultural Center in Paris. His latest novel is entitled Olympus of the Unfortunate, published by Editions Julliard in 2010.
Holm MarrakechYasmina Khadra Sofitel Marrakech Palais Impérial
Thirty years ago, I had come to Marrakech to escape the rat race of Paris. I was ready to trade my array of flashy illusions for a single oasis and abandon the neon-lit boulevards for a shimmering desert mirage. Blasphemous wealth and ostentation no longer suited me. The time had come for me to stop navel-gazing, stop obsessing over the creases of my tuxedo, stop trying to second-guess what silence was being drowned out by the wagging tongues of the chattering classes. Paris was dehumanizing. I was getting lost in a blur of pretense. Amid the whirl of conquests and conceits, I was afraid of what I was becoming. “You’re going too fast,” my father had warned. A former railroad man, his face bearing traces of a hardscrabble life, my father was used to getting by with little. “Slow down, son.” I refused to listen. Didn’t he understand that I was avenging the miseries he had endured so that we…