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Abdellatif Laabi

Laabi
Books by this author: Beyond the Barbed Wire
  • About
  • Reviews
  • Awards
  • Abdellatif Laâbi is a poet, novelist, playwright, translator and political activist. He was born in Fez, Morocco in 1942. In the 1960s, Laâbi was the founding editor of Souffles, or Breaths, a widely influential literary review that was banned in 1972, at which point Laâbi was imprisoned for eight and a half years. Laâbi’s most recent accolades include the Prix Goncourt de la Poésie for his Oeuvres complètes (Collected Poems) in 2009, and the Académie française’s Grand Prix de la Francophonie in 2011. His work has been translated into Arabic, Spanish, German, Italian, Dutch, Turkish and English. Laâbi himself has translated into French the works of Mahmoud Darwish, Abdul Wahab al-Bayati, Mohammed Al-Maghout, Saâdi Youssef, Abdallah Zrika, Ghassan Kanafani and Qassim Haddad.

    'The themes of his activism explode throughout the work and the reader watches the fireworks of emotion, feeling conflicted with moments of utopic joy followed by utter devastation. Beyond the Barbed Wire does more than make Laabi's work accessible to an English readership.'
    Wasafiri Magazine
    'While it is clear that an inner, creative imperative makes him write, the particular circumstances and passions that move him make him regard writing as part of a political struggle. The 'I' in his poems is no formal lyric ego but a presence, something menacing, a power to be reckoned with.' 

    D. M De Silva, Poetry Salzberg  

    'Shame, defiance, mockery, fear and solidarity come through like battle cries of love, and the reader cannot help but take up the song.'
    Wasafiri Magazine


      'When it comes to 'raising a song of possibilities above the dirge of cruelty', Laâbi is still without rival.'
    Stacy Hardy, The Chimurenga Chronic
     'Laâbi's finest poems are virtuosic performances, turning political crises into poetic occasions and combining a flair for self-dramatization with stunning verbal inventiveness.'
    Robyn Creswell, Harpers Magazine
     'These extraordinary, energetic poems, which grab the reader by the throat both linguistically and morally, are about the power of language itself.'
    Sue Hubbard, Poetry London
    Awards won by Abdellatif Laabi Short-listed, 2020 The Neustadt International Prize for Literature  (Beyond the Barbed Wire)
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