The African Book Festival from February 9 to 12, 2023 in Marrakech

Steeped in history, African literature dates back to ancient times with the writings of Egypt. If in the past it was characterized mainly by its oral character, today it is rich in numerous written works which spread the continent’s literature to the four corners of the globe. the Marrakech African Book Festival (FLAM) comes to bring its stone to the building starting from an observation: “Within our continent, we are separated by geography, we know very little about each other. FLAM can be a way to break this isolation and this reciprocal ignorance. This festival is the fruit of a reflection shared with Mahi Binebinmore than four years ago, during the event “Marrakech, African Capital of Culture””, explains Younes Ajarrai.

Thinking Africa, from Africa, by Africans

The launch of this cultural high mass comes in a context where African literature is on the rise. In 2021, African writers have won the day, in particular Mohamed Mbougar Sarrthe first writer from sub-Saharan Africa to win the Goncourt Prize, Damon Galgut who won the Booker Prize or the Tanzanian Abdulrazak Gurnah, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. A recognition hailed by Mahi Binebine who notes, however, that “for some time now, we have had our gaze constantly turned towards the West. It’s time for us to sit down among ourselves, to talk to each other without having to go far to be recognized as a good artist, a good writer. We have decided to meet among ourselves, among Africans. It’s not about spitting in the soup, but it’s time to take charge of ourselves and not expect anything from the other side. Africa is young and beautiful, it is full of talent. We will therefore have to sit down to talk, also about the past and about the things that annoy us, in particular racism and slavery. Our future is built in this direction with dialogue. To meet my African neighbour, I prefer to go to his house or welcome him to my house,” confides the artist, also a writer.

Dialogue and discovery as common thread

The FLAM is intended to be a national event, with continental extension and international scope in which some forty Arabic-speaking, French-speaking and English-speaking authors from all over Africa and its diasporas will take part, including Lilian Thuram, Jennifer Richard, Fouad Laroui, Rodney Saint-Éloi or Fawzia Zouar. Conceived in the spirit of a literary festival, the festival will revolve around an eclectic programme.

Among the highlights, the literary cafés during which the writers will discuss their works, the palaver focused on topical subjects, but also historical ones, the tandems bringing together writers from the north and those from the south, round tables around the theme of “the decolonization of arts and culture”, the program dedicated to youth, without forgetting the thematic exhibition entrusted to the Moroccan artist Mohamed Mourabiti.
A promising program that will evolve over the years, in particular with the establishment of a literary prize dedicated to young people from the continent in order to develop common imaginations, but also screenings of African films in cinemas in Marrakech.

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The African Book Festival from February 9 to 12, 2023 in Marrakech