(Lebanon, 1949) is a journalist, writer and winner of the Prix Goncourt. Since 2011 is has been a member of the Académie Française. Trained as a sociologist and economist he decided at a young age to become a journalist. In 1976 he fled the civil war in his country and settled in France. After the success of his The Crusades through Arab Eyes (1983) he chose to become a full-time writer. Eight of his titles have appeared in the Netherlands so far. In his latest book Les emigrés a historian, much-admired in France, returns to Lebanon to say goodbye to a dying friend. He meets people from his youth who have made other, gruesome decisions. But is he allowed to judge them from his own luxurious position? An intriguing novel which, according to Le Figaro 'continues to vibrate'. The struggle with his background plays a role in earlier work. In the essay Murdering Identities Maalouf pleads for a multicultural identity.(WU 2014 GR)
Archive available for: Amin Maalouf
Arabist and writer Petra Stienen talks to the festival's guest of honour, the Lebanese/French author Amin Maalouf.
Multiculturality in the Dutch debate has almost become anathema, but for Amin Maalouf it is a human right: 'We live in a world in which we force people to choose where they belong. We need a new attitude with regard to identity, it must be made legitimate to have more than one identity.'
In his latest novel Les Desorientés (The Disoriented) he describes the feelings and thoughts leading to migration: 'Maybe my life doesn't amount to anything, just like the lives of the people I have known, compared to that of a famous conqueror. But it is my life, and if I believe it only deserves to be forgotten, then I haven't deserved to live.'
Watch an English spoken interview by Wim Brands on Sunday 12 January on Dutch televisionk here.
Thirty minutes after this programme, at 4 p.m. feel free to join the Wim Brands Reading club, in which the Dutch translation of Maalouf's novel will be will be discussed with the audience, and with writer Fouad Laroui and Arabist Petra Stienen. That programma is in Dutch.
See me. Hear me. Read me. Appreciate me. Be like me. Do like me. Join me: with the democratisation of the media owing to the Internet and the social media, there is a growing longing for recognition. Not only do celebrities have a stage to sparkle on, all those with a blog, Facebook or Twitter account can create their own little kingdom and think themselves a poet, a writer, a political expert or an expert on the environment. Boundaries fade; idols and politicians can be reached on Twitter, making it seem as if one really counts. And a like or a retweet is the reward. New online communities are formed, not hindered by national borders or local politics. The new world citizen creates his own virtual society of kindred spirits. What does it mean to live in a virtual world and what are the consequences for people's identities? Amin Maalouf ponders the deper layers and consequences behind a simple request: Like me. Followed by a debate on the topic. In English.