Literary Birthday – 30 June – Assia Djebar

Assia Djebar was born 30 June 1936 and died 6 February 2015.

Five Quotes

  1. The word is a torch; to be held up in front of the wall of separation or withdrawal … Armed solely with the written word, our serious attention can never be distracted … And now I too seek out the rich vocabulary of love of my mother tongue …
  2. Love, if I managed to write it down, would approach a critical point: there where lies the risk of exhuming buried cities … But my sole ambition in writing is constantly to travel to fresh pastures and replenish my water skins with an inexhaustible silence.
  3. My father was a nobleman when he spoke his mother tongue, and a worker from the lowest class when he went over into French.
  4. Sometimes fear grips me that these fragile moments of life will fade away. It seems that I write against erasure.
  5. Writing in a foreign language – has brought me to the cries of the women silently rebelling in my youth, to my own true origins.

Assia Djebar was the pen name of Fatima-Zohra Imalayen, an Algerian novelist, translator, and filmmaker. She is the author of Algerian White: A Narrative.

Source for photo:, Michel-georges bernard, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 30th June 2016