Latifa R’kha Chaham, a renowned Moroccan author, unveiled this Saturday, June 10 her first novel in French, entitled ” The Purgatory of the Exiles“, during the 28th edition of the International Publishing and Book Fair (SIEL). Originally from Marrakech, Latifa R’kha Chaham embodies the authenticity and modernity of Moroccan women, having been one of the first generations of young girls in Morocco to do and pursue studies.
Her remarkable career earned her the appointment by the late Mohammed V to teach Arabic to Moroccans residing abroad. Before this first book in French, the Moroccan author published several novels in Arabic which were highly appreciated. But ” The Purgatory of the Exiles marks a new stage in his career, offering a captivating and thoughtful narrative that encourages deep reflection on the meaning of life.
Through a diversity of characters, the author explores the fears, anxieties and doubts of human society, thus leading to a flight into the unknown.
On the occasion of SIEL, MoroccoLatestNews Fr was able to discuss with the writer about her new work, about this transition from Arabic to French, about writing in Morocco and many other subjects, in particular her pride in seeing her daughter, Minister Fatim Zahra Ammor, “to accomplish so many beautiful things in the service of her country”.
Latifa R’kha Chaham, you are one of the great Moroccan women. You have long written in Arabic. Moreover, your first book in Arabic “Whispers in the ears of men”, was a great success. When did you decide to switch from Arabic to French?
Latifa Rkha Shaham: I have always written in Arabic. Over the years and writing, several of my friends, mainly French-speaking, asked me to translate my novels into French. However, as you know, Arabic is a language that has a subtlety that is often very difficult to translate. This is why I opposed the idea of translating novels thought out in Arabic.
However, driven by this persistent demand and motivated by the desire to reach a wider audience, I made the decision to write a novel in French for the first time. Language is above all a vehicle that transposes thought and my thought does not fundamentally change when I express it in another language.
I must admit that I also found pleasure in it.
This novel in French represents for me an extension of my work as a writer. It’s a way to broaden my horizons, explore different facets of my creativity and share my stories with a French-speaking audience.
You are here today at SIEL to present your book “Le Purgatoire des exilés”. The book addresses themes such as life, humanity and our passage on this earth, as well as the obstacles we encounter throughout our existence, but also the happiness we enjoy. In short, it is a book about life and people in society. Where do you draw this inspiration from to tackle such a complex subject?
This novel was born from my own life, a long life filled with ups and downs, unexpected turns. I have always contemplated this life with a certain distance, taking a step back from events.
It represents the very essence of an existence rich in experiences and observations. It’s a story that was built at a difficult time in my life, which prompted me to approach the subject as an answer to all the questions that many of us ask ourselves, consciously or unconsciously.
If everyone can find there even a part of the answers to their own questions, then I would have won the bet of this book.
Nowadays, SIEL has become an integral part of cultural life in Rabat. What does the existence of such an international fair, which is held every year in the African Capital of Culture, mean to you?
It is not only a source of knowledge, of sharing thoughts and emotions, but also a wealth for me as a writer and as a woman, to meet and share my experience with people from different backgrounds. various.
It also represents an opportunity to export my writings to other countries, to make them travel beyond borders.
In the end, we are passing through this world, but the writings endure and bear witness to our passage, to what we have been able to bring to our country and beyond. They become a tangible trace of our existence, our ideas and our contribution.
What is your opinion on women’s writing in Morocco? Do you consider it sufficiently advanced, revolutionary, or do you think it perhaps lacks a bit of “rebellion” to tackle taboo and delicate subjects that affect our society?
In my youth, I was always on the side of the rebels, at least intellectually. I lived near Dar el Bacha in Marrakech, and I lived through the torments of independence and the pressure that came with it. As girls, we were put forward by the nationalists. We were their banner to announce the change in the position of women in Morocco. This developed in me a spirit of opposition.
Moreover, it was at the age of 14 that I wrote my first short story. However, I think women’s writing remains fragile, because there are many taboos and things left unsaid. I know in advance that my book could disturb some people with certain passages.
Yet we have extraordinary women who write and move forward with confidence, defending their ideas. They push boundaries and break down barriers, paving the way for a new generation of female writers. Despite obstacles and taboos, we fight to make our voices heard and share our stories, thus contributing to the evolution of society and the liberation of women.
We are used to seeing Fatim-Zahra Ammor the minister, today she is the daughter who stands by her mother’s side to support her and show her pride. What does this represent for you?
I am doubly happy. First, for the simple fact of being accompanied by my daughter, and second, for the fact that Fatim Zahra, as a minister, accomplishes so many things that I would have liked to do myself as a woman committed to his country. It’s like a continuation of myself.
As a mother, I am proud of her, but also as a patriot. Seeing my daughter get involved and actively contribute to the development and progress of our nation is a source of pride and satisfaction for me. This is proof that our efforts and our aspirations for a better future are paying off.
This pride is imbued with deep maternal love, but it is also tinged with satisfaction as a citizen who observes with joy the progress of her country.