Algerian-born, Moslem raised, Paris-educated, Assia Djebar (1936- 2015) tackled all genres: poetry, plays, short-stories, novels and essays. In her books Djebar explored the struggle for social emancipation and the Muslim woman's world in its complexities. Several of her works deal with the impact of the war on women's mind. She wrote, directed, and edited her own films, winning the Biennale prize at the 1979 Venice Film Festival with her very first attempt, La Nouba des Femmes du Mont Chenoua (The nouba or "ritual" festival of the Women of Mt. Chenoua). She staged her own plays and both translated and directed the plays of others (Amiri Baraka’s, for example). In 2000, she authored an operatic libretto, "Filles d’Ismaël dans le vent et la tempête" (Daughters of Ishmael, through wind and storm). Based on her 1991 narrative on the life of the Prophet, Far from Medina, this oratorio was performed to excellent reviews in Rome and at the Palermo Arts Festival. A second version, in classical Arabic this time, is commissioned for future performance in Holland. Djebar is one of North Africa's most famous and influential writers, and was elected to the Académie française on June 16, 2005, the first writer from the Maghreb to achieve such recognition.
She won the following awards: Peace Prize of Frankfurt Book Fair (2000); International Prize of Palmi (Italy); Marguerite Yourcenar Prize for Literature (Boston, MA); International Literary Neustadt Prize (1996); International Critics Prize, Biennale of Venice, for the film "La nouba des femmes du Mont Chenoua." (08/18)