“J’écris, je m'expose en signant de mon vrai nom, je vous expose avec moi, je sors de l'ombre, je refuse cet idéal marocain stérile, je crache, je suis scandaleux, je suis le fils de Marilyn Monroe, je suis terroriste et pédé.”
[I write, I reveal myself by signing my real name, I reveal you with me, I come out of the shadows, I refuse this sterile Moroccan ideal, I spit, I'm scandalous, I'm the son of Marilyn Monroe, I'm a terrorist and a queer.]
Abdellah Taia is the author of several novels: Mon Maroc (2000), Le Rouge du tarbouche (2004), L'Armée du salut (2006), Une mélancolie arabe (2008), Le Jour du Roi (2010) – which won the Prix de Flore in 2010 – Infidèles (2012) – which was nominated for the prestigious Prix Médicis in 2012, Un pays pour mourir (2015), and Celui qui est digne d’être aimé (2017). He has also published two photo books or “catalogues”: (1) with Frédéric Mitterrand, Maroc 1900–1960, Un certain regard (2007); and (2) with Mahmoud Farag and Denis Dailleux, Égypte les martyrs de la révolution (2014). He also has edited Lettres à un jeune Marocain (2009) and a special issue of the literary review Nejma (2010–11), “Jean Genet un saint marocain.” Taia studied French literature at the Université de Rabat, the Université de Geneve, and the Université de Paris- Sorbonne. Alongside his literary pursuits, he has also worked as an actor and is an aspiring film director. For example, Taia has played a few small roles, including an “unnamed Moroccan writer,” in the feature-length film Tarik El hob / The Road To Love (Lange, 2001), and another role as himself in the made-for-television movie Jean Genet, le contre-exemplaire (Blanchard, 2010). In 2013, he also completed his first feature-length film, L'Armée du salut based on the novel of the same name. That same year, L'Armée du salut received the first prize at the Festival Premiers Plans of Angers, France, which is the major European First Film Festival. It was also selected for the Tangier Film Festival in February 2014.
Taia was born in Rabat in 1973 and was raised by his mother and father in the small village of Salé. In 1992, at the age of 19, he moved to Rabat where he pursued his studies in French literature at the Université de Mohamed V.