|Biographical detail : ||Foremost novelist and writer who deplored injustice and assailed literary orthodoxy exiled himself from his native Algeria.
Dib, a varied and versatile writer, was the undisputed doyen of Algerian literature. He authored, in French, some 30 novels, volumes of poetry, short stories and tales for children, widely appreciated in France.
Dib’s becoming a journalist, in 1950, gravitated him towards communism. He went to France for the first time, in 1952, and published La Grande Maison (The Great House), his first novel, about a house in Tlemcen where lodgers are needed – hunger is the dominant force. Then followed the other two novels being L’Incendie (The Fire, 1954) and Le Metier A Tisser (The Loom, 1957). His last novel Simorgh (It is the Arab name of a mythological bird inhabited by the souls of the gods) an autobiographical – in which he wrote, “I didn’t know I was an Algerian”, was published a few weeks before his death.
The realism of these novels and his membership of the Communist party made him unpopular with the French settlers in Algeria and, in 1959 he exiled himself to France where he spent rest of his life. He travelled widely, especially in Finland and became a visiting lecturer in Paris and California.
The Academie Francaise rewarded Muhammad Dib, in 1994, with Le Grand Prix de la Francophonie.
Muhammad Dib was born in Tlemcen, a city near the border of Morocco, known for its traditional crafts, and died in La Celle-Saint Cloud, near Paris, France. He came from a middle-class family of carpenter that had fallen on hard times because of his father’s death when he was only 10.