Maalouf, Amin

(*1949)

Amin Maalouf, one of the most influential contemporary writers, weaves extraordinary tales in his novels, mixing historical events, romantic love, fantasy, and imagination. Yet at the core of all these well-crafted works lies a deep element of philosophical and psychological inquiry into the nature and condition of man.

A Lebanese writer who lives in France and writes in French, Maalouf explores fundamental problems of identity, the pressures of religion and nationality, and the concerns and values of different cultures in the Middle East, Africa, and the Mediterranean world. He frequently probes the clashes between East and West.

Born and raised in Lebanon, after receiving a Jesuit education in sociology and economics, Amin Maalouf took up journalism. When the Lebanese civil war broke out, totally destabilizing his homeland, Maalouf, his wife, and three children emigrated in 1976 to Paris, where they have lived ever since. His literary work is today translated into more than 40 languages. It includes novels, essays and opera librettos, notably: The Crusades through Arab Eyes (Les Croisades vues par les Arabes, 1983), Samarkand (Samarcande, 1988, The Gardens of Light (Les Jardins de lumière, 1991) or The Rock of Tanios (Le Rocher de Tanios, 1993) He is a winner of the Prix Goncourt and a member of the Académie Française.

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