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Book of the month : Fouad Laroui

Fouad LarouiFouad Laroui, a writer between two cultures

Faoud Laroui enriches his work with his double culture: both Moroccan and French. He has received the Jean-Giono award for his last book, Les Tribulations du dernier Sijilmassi (The trials of the last Sijilmassi). The French Academy (Académie française) has also awarded him for his career.

"An honour and recognition"

2014 is a beautiful year for Faoud Laroui. Last July, he has been awarded the “Medal of vermeil” of the grand prize of the French-speaking communities from the French Academy. "An honour and recognition", according to the writer. By winning the Prix Jean-Giono on October 16th for Les Tribulations du dernier Sijilmassi, he has added a new award to prize list.

Engineer, economist and man of letters

Born in Morocco in 1958, Fouad Laroui went to the French high school of Casablanca at 10 years old. In 1979, he was admitted in the prestigious École nationale des ponts et chaussées, in Paris. As an engineer, he has worked in Morocco, lived in the UK and passed a doctorate in economic science in 1994. Today, he lives in Amsterdam, where he is in charge of a research unit in the University.

At the same time, he works in literature; his first novel was published in 1996. "Writing was an all-time hobby", reveals the French-speaking writer, who absorbed the French culture while keeping a certain distance: "My dual culture allows me to take my distance with one culture or the other".

A writer in an identity quest

Fouad Laroui’s work is largely placed under the angle of the quest of identity. "The question of identity is critical. Isn't 'know thyself' the oldest saying in mankind?" This question "seems to be more urgent for those who live in various countries, various cultures", the writer adds.

And this is the case for Adam, the hero of Tribulations du dernier Sijilmassi. A Moroccan engineer living abroad, he decides to make a radical break with his Occidentalised way of living to start a journey to his origins. This is the start of an unbridled and picaresque quest paved with reflection on the links between the Orient and Occident.