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Meet the WritersImage of Yasmina Khadra
Yasmina Khadra
Yasmina Khadra is the nom de plume of the Algerian army officer Mohammed Moulessehoul, who is the author of four other books published in English: Double Blanc, Morituri, In the Name of God and Wolf Dreams. He took the feminine pseudonym to avoid submitting his manuscripts for approval by military censors while he was still in the army. He lives in France.

Author biography courtesy of Random House, Inc.

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What were the books that most influenced your life or your career as a writer?

  • The Stranger by Albert Camus
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • The Days by Taha Hossein
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

    What are your ten favorite books, and what makes them special to you?

  • The Stranger by Albert Camus -- For the calm power of its simplicity in translating the absurdity of the human condition.

  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck -- For its realism and the extraordinary handling of its characters. John Steinbeck is my favorite author.

  • Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky, for its talent at revealing the pettiness of humans and their awful stupidity.

  • The Days by Taha Hossein -- For the lucidity of its story and for the beauty of its language.

  • Sophie's Choice by William Styron -- For the crudeness of its humanism and its implacable concern with reconstructing horror in its absolute cruelty, human cruelty.

  • Regain by Jean Giono -- For his poetry and the sobriety of his talent.

  • The Quai of Flowers Doesn't Answer by Malek Haddad -- For its beauty.

  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy -- For his genius.

  • The Trial by Franz Kafka, for many reasons.

  • The Swallows of Kabul -- Because I wrote it.

    What are some of your favorite films?

  • Schindler's List, directed by Steven Spielberg

  • The Battle of Algiers

    What types of music do you like? Is there any particular kind you like to listen to when you're writing?
    I like music from all over the world. For me, music is the deepest form of communication; it is, par excellence, the conscience of our existence, what is essential in the vocation of life. When one sings, one becomes the carrier of one's own hopes and, at times, one's own prophet. I am as interested in music concerned with human destiny as I am in that music born of a strictly festive impulse. Contrary to language, which relies on our ability to access the language in which it was written, music speaks immediately to the soul before soliciting the mind. Today, more than ever, at a time when the world is losing its poetry, music remains one of the rare spaces capable of calming both attitudes and appetites.

    If you had a book club, what would it be reading?
    The relationship between a writer and a reader is too personal, too intimate, for me to imagine participating in or leading a book club.

    What are your favorite kinds of books to give -- and get -- as gifts?
    Each book must be chosen according to the person to whom it is destined.

    Do you have any special writing rituals? For example, what do you have on your desk when you're writing?
    A photo of the youngest of my daughters.

    What are you working on now?
    A screenplay for an Algerian filmmaker.

    Many writers are hardly "overnight success" stories. How long did it take for you to get where you are today? Any rejection-slip horror stories or inspirational anecdotes?
    My path as a writer is also my life's path, which I reveal through my books.

    What tips or advice do you have for writers still looking to be discovered?
    Be inspired by all the masterpieces of international literature, but find in yourself each of your books.

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  • About the Writer
    *Yasmina Khadra Home
    * Biography
    * Interview
    *In the Name of God, 2000
    *Wolf Dreams, 2003
    *Morituri, 2003
    *The Swallows of Kabul, 2004
    *Double Blank, 2005
    Photo by by John Foley