(1950, Morocco) is one of the first Moroccan authors writing in Arabic and whose work is translated in English. Aboezaid actively witnessed the struggle for independence and in her most recent book The Director and Other Stories from Morocco (2006) she writes about the many changes which the struggle for indepenence brought about in Morocco. In her semi-autobiografical novel The Last Chapter. A Moroccan Woman's Life, published in Dutch in 2004, Aboezaid writes about the search for an intellectual Moroccan woman, who, keeping her religious identity, tries to find her personal freedom within Moroccan society. In The Year of the Elephant (1990) independence again plays a major role. In it she writes about the life of a political activist in the period after Moroccan independence in which many Moroccan women were forced back into their traditional roles. Not only in her books does she draw attention to women's rights, in 2002 she was a member of a special commission looking into it. Right now she is writing a biography of the Prophet Mohammed. In addition to novels, Aboezaid has written poetry, articles and short stories.(WIN 2008)
Archive available for: Laila Aboezaid
Shabandar Café is a programme by Gemak, the new centre for western and non-western art, politics and debate, of The Hague Gemeentemuseum and the Vrije Academie. With Shabandar Café Gemak links up with the Winternachten festival. Gemak is named after the famous meeting place of artists and intellectuals in Bagdad. Enjoy the most refined forms of Iraqi culture: live classical Arab Moqam music, an Iraqi storyteller and poetr, a short Iraqi documentary on Café Shabandar, tea and the tastiest Iraqi snacks.
The exhisition space of Gemak has been decorated for the occasion in that of the original café, destroyed in March 2007. Honorary guests: the Arab writers taking part in festival Winternachten. An English-Arabic language programme, compiled by the Iraqi visual artist Rashad Selim.
For more information on the programme see www.gemak.org. In English and Arabic
Shabandar is the name of a café on Al Mutanabi Street
where for decades Baghdad's cultural elites met
discussing books, poetry and politics
or dropping in for a coffee after visiting the book vendors' stalls
on the busy street outside
Everybody interested in books came here
to buy them in the good years
to sell them during the sanctions
to be transported by their covers
if they were penniless
On the 5th of March 2007
one car bomb attack among many
and the book market outside
Shabandar Café has left Baghdad
even if its walls are rebuilt
5000 years of urban culture
scattered to the four corners of the Earth
How do characters and their creators, the writers, free themselves from oppressive restrictions? Where do they find their freedom? And when does freedom turn into unfreedom? Three writers discuss this. Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer has an Avatar in the virtual world without-rules-of-the-game Second Life. Laila Abuzaid (Morocco) finds her freedom within the framework of Moroccan tradition. Interviewer is Anne-Sophie van Neste.
The earlier announced Turkish writer Ömer Zülfü Livaneli has cancelled his visit to the festival due to family circumstances. In English.