Naima el Bezaz
(Morocco, 1974) her motto is: 'Taboos are there to be broken', and she managed just that with her latest novel Het Gelukssyndroom (The Happiness Syndrome; 2008). In this story the Moroccan Layla gives in to sombre feelings until she realizes that her dying friend, the blonde Marit, needs her. The novel is based on El Bezaz's own experience. The writer suffered from a depression - often taboo in the Muslim community - after the death of a friend and threats as a result of her novel De Verstotene (The Outcast). This novel was dubbed by her publisher 'the Lady Chatterley's Lover of the Muslim community', owing to the fierce social criticism and explicit sex. El Bezaz's books are highly popular at secondary schools. Her novel Minnares van de Duivel (The Devil's Lover) was a downright best-seller in 2002 after she had read an erotic passage in a satirical tv programme.
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Contemporary readers yearn for true strories. In the bookstores there are piles of books with literary non-fiction and the jury of the AKO literature prize never nominated so much nonfiction. Why does the genre have such an appeal to readers and writers alike? And: how true is non-fiction really? How does the writer keep guard over the boundaris of pure fabrication? Gerrit Komrij, Kristien Hemmerechts, Naima el Bezaz and P.F. Thomése debated with practical instances from their own non-fiction. Komrij opened with the pamphlet Fake Buttocks, which was published in the weekly the Groene Amsterdammer the week after the festival. Host: Koen Kleijn.
One of the young literary talents in The Netherlands. In her sermon on the State of Passion and Love she told the story of a young married woman in Morocco. Dutch spoken.
Is there such a thing as middle ground when lovers come from such different worlds as the Jewish and Islamic spheres? Does love cross boundaries between culture and religion? Or does one end up in 'the wrong love story', as happens in Fouad Laroui's novel Judith and Jamal. He discussed these questions along with Tamarah Benima and Naima el Bezaz. Dutch spoken.