Mohamed Choukri born on July 15, and died on November 15, , was a Moroccan author and novelist. I first read Mohamed Choukri’s memoir For Bread Alone when I was working on A Basket of Leaves. I considered using it as one of the books I. Mohamed Choukri’s autobiographical novel For Bread Alone describes a bleak childhood and youth in Morocco.

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Choukri was born inin Ayt Chiker Ayt Chiker, hence his adopted family name: He was raised in a very poor family. He ran away from his tyrannical father and became a homeless child living in the poor neighborhoods of Tangiersurrounded by misery, prostitution, violence and mohamex abuse.

At the age of 20, he decided to learn how to read and write and became later a schoolteacher. His family name “Choukri” is connected to the name Ayt Chiker which is the Berber tribe cluster he belonged to before fleeing hunger to Tangier. It is most likely that he adopted this name later in Tangier, because in the rural Rif family names were rarely registered. Choukri’s first writing was published in Al-adab monthly review of Beirut in[1] a story entitled “Al-Unf ala al-shati” “Violence on the Beach”.

The book would later be translated into 30 other languages.

Le Reclus de Tanger See also In TangierTelegram Books,for all three in one volume. Mohamed Choukri died of cancer on November 15,at the military hospital of Rabat.

He was buried on November 17 at the Marshan cemetery in Tangier vhoukri, with the audience of the Minister of Culture, numerous government officials, personalities and the spokesman of the King of Morocco. Prior to his death he provided aloen his servant of almost 22 years. Mohamed Choukri was born in the Rif more precisely Had, Bni Chiker during a famine, in a poor family with many children and a violent father.

His mother tongue was the Riffian a Berber dialect. As a child Choukri survived thanks to a variety of jobs, serving in a French family in the Algerian Rif, or guiding sailors akone arrived in Tangierchouukri he learned Spanish. His life was surrounded by prostitutes, thieves, smugglers and especially a tyrannic and violent father. Choukri accused him of murdering his young brother, Kader, as well as his wife. After a family dispute, he left his family at the age of 11 to live in Tangier.


There, he was a homeless child, a petty burglar, an occasional smuggler and a prostitute.

For Bread Alone | Saqi Books

At the age of 20, he met fpr who changed his life. He met someone who helped him learn how to read and write Classical Arabica strange language for him, and different from Moroccan Arabic and Berber which he spoke. He decided to leave Tangier in year of the independence of Morocco and went to Laracheentering a primary school at the age of He entered the Ecole Normale and became a schoolteacher.

Back in Tangier in the s, he continued to go to bars and brothels and began to write his personal story in Arabic with explicitness and detail. His explicitness about some of his sexually tinted experiences was largely condemned by religious and conservative forces in Morocco and abroad.

For Bread Alone

Choukri grew to literary fame through his daring writings and his association with American writer and composer Paul Bowleswho lived in Tangier for decades. Bowles and Brexd worked together on the translation of For Bread Alone inand Bowles arranged for the novel to be published in England by Peter Owen.

For Nohamed Alone became an international success when published in English, but the book also caused a furor in the Arab world. When the Arabic edition emerged, it was prohibited in Morocco, on the authority of the Interior Minister, Driss Basrifollowing the advice of the religious authorities [2].

It was said to have offended by its references to teenage sexual experiences and drug abuse. This censorship ended inand For Bread Alone was finally published in Morocco. Samia Mehrez due to some sexually explicit passages, prompting some observers to criticize the “ban” and blame government censorship.

The incident was preceded by the removal by order of the President of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak of Maxime Rodinson’s book Muhammad, the banning of that book and the instructor of that course was not rehired.

While some blamed “intimidation from Islamist militants, which the government does little to prevent,” in fact, the Egyptian government engaged in book banning in that period on a brdad scale. Mehrez was threatened with sexual harassment proceedings and expulsion, the book “For Bread Alone” was examined by parliament, and the academic and literary community largely supported her use of the novel through a letter-writing campaign.

Mohamed Choukri believed he had secured that which was most important to him: His last will and testament, in which he left his entire estate to bdead foundation that was to be run jointly by five presidents: Securing his literary legacy was of the utmost importance to Choukri, but the promises that were made to him were not kept: Mohamed Choukri chose the Moroccan option.


For one thing, he was afraid that the government might stop chokuri his expensive cancer treatment if he gave away the rights to his work to a foreign entity.

On the other hand, it would also have been particularly shameful to have given them to one of the countries that had formerly colonized and oppressed Morocco. Princes of the streetsa film by Nabil Ayouchtelling the story of a homeless child, is an adaptation of For Bread Alonedespite a less shocking atmosphere. It starred Said Taghmaoui among others.

The film premiered at the first edition of the Festival of Casablanca in When I arrived, there were two Tangier: At these times, to eat, I compered the garbage. The European ones preferably, because they were richer.

I cannot write about the milk of birds, the braed stranglehold of the angelic beauty, grasps of dew, the cascade of lions, the heavy breast of females. I cannot write with a crystal’s paintbrush. For me, writing is a protest, not a parade. I saw that writing could also be a way to expose, to protest against those who have stolen my childhood, my teenage hood and a piece of my youthfulness.

At that moment, my writing became committed. There’s, in the Moroccan society, a more conservative faction. Those people judge my works as depraved.

In my books, there’s nothing against the regime. I don’t talk about politics or religion. But, what annoy the conservatives, is to notice I criticize my father. The father is sacred alohe the Arabic-Muslim society. From Wikipedia, mohamrd free encyclopedia. Morocco portal Biography portal Novels portal. Novel and Nation in the Muslim World: Literary Contributions and National Identities. Archived from the original on Retrieved from ” https: Views Read Edit View history.

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