Baba Fekrane et autres contes

5 min

Baba Fekrane et autres contes (Mohammed Dib), a set of six children's tales published with the support of the Institut français

With the support of the Institut français of Algeria and the Institut français of Paris (Livres des deux rives – un dialogue méditerranéen par le livre), Barzakh editions is publishing a richly illustrated set of six children's tales by the iconic Algerian author Mohammed Dib. 

© éditions Barzakh

A remarkable writer

A giant of Algerian literature, Mohammed Dib passed away in 2003 after a prolific career as an author in which he tackled almost all literary genres and made a major contribution to the French language. Having worked in many professions, including as a journalist, Mohammed Dib issued his first works with French publishers including Seuil and Gallimard, before leaving Algeria to settle in France with his wife Colette. Working as a teacher at UCLA in California and Finland, he was a prolific author, praised during his lifetime by his contemporaries. 


A lifetime's work

Baba Fekrane et autres contes collects six children's tales written by Mohammed Dib between 1958 (the eponymous story published at the time by La Farandole) and his twilight years. Throughout his life, the author reworked his oeuvre, selected and published with the support of his widow Colette and daughter Assia. While calling on the Algerian oral tradition and classic templates that he always manages to reinvent, these six stories undoubtedly have their origins in Mohammed Dib's childhood, and are as entertaining as they are instructive. 


An ambitious editorial project

The Baba Fekrane et autres contes anthology is the result of a long-term publishing project by Barzakh editions, marking their first foray into children's books. The special attention to form and print was partly due to the involvement of Mohammed Dib's granddaughter Louise, who created the graphics and helped select some illustrators. The dream opportunity to enhance stories that the author claimed to have "worked on intently to achieve that accomplished aspect of popular poetry that renders the text invisible". 


Cosmopolitan and richly illustrated

The ambitious and unprecedented editorial project has received special support from the Livres des deux rives scheme implemented by the Institut français. To reaffirm the author's cosmopolitan commitment and the very international dimension of this project, the stories included in the anthology were illustrated by artists from six different countries: Juliette Léveillé (France) for "Baba Fekrane et autres conte", Mirjana Farkas (Switzerland) for "Barbe de plumes", Sonia Bensalem (Tunisia) for "L'histoire du chat qui boude", Mostafa Sarabi (Iran) for "L'Hippopotame qui se trouvait vilain", Salah Elmour (Sudan) for "Salem et le sorcier", and Sofiane Zouggar (Algeria) for "Seigneur, Warda marchera-t-elle?".