Literary fiction has always provided an outlet for social and political critique. In the writing of key North African women authors, the dissection of Maghrebi society is at the very heart of the narratives. Here, Abdelkader Cheref charts the rise of postcolonial literature written by women from the Maghreb, and provides the first comparative analysis of three of the region's most prominent contemporary authors: Assia Djeba (Algeria), Leila Abouzeid (Morocco) and Souad Guellouz (Tunisia). These writers are united in their depictions of a post-independence socio-political malaise in the Maghreb; their explorations of marginalised women's voices; and their own quests for their voices to be heard beyond the rigid constraints of patriarchy. Cheref examines the intricate connections that the writers make between the subordination and marginalisation of women and the complex web of issues facing contemporary Maghrebi societies more widely. The works of Djeba, Abouzeid and Guellouz all display grievances with the failings of Maghrebi governments and societies which limit the freedom of the individual, whether male or female: nationalist policies, corruption, despotic rule, religious fanaticism, flawed modernisation, economic and class problems, and issues of gender and power. He places the writers' narratives within their historical and cultural contexts, and reveals the ways in which gender identity, as well as national and cultural identities, are being renegotiated within the space of postcolonial Maghrebi women's literature. 'Gender and Identity in North Africa: Postcolonialism and Feminism in Maghrebi Women's Literature' is essential comparative reading for students and researchers wishing to understand the complex connections between literature, history and culture in postcolonial North Africa.
Gender and Identity in North Africa
Postcolonialism and Feminism in Maghrebi Women's Literature