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Branding the 'Beur' AuthorMinority Writing and the Media in France$
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Kathryn A. Kleppinger

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781781381960

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781381960.001.0001

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Mehdi Charef and theInvention of Beur Writing

Mehdi Charef and theInvention of Beur Writing

(p.35) Chapter II Mehdi Charef and theInvention of Beur Writing
Branding the 'Beur' Author

Kathryn A. Kleppinger

Liverpool University Press

After a brief discussion of political activism in the early 1980s by the descendants of North African immigrants to France, this chapter explores the reception and promotion of Mehdi Charef’s début novel, Le thé au harem d’Archi Ahmed (1983). Charef appeared on several top literary, society, and news programs, and successfully established himself as an insider providing new perspectives on France’s North African immigrant community. To better understand the contours of Charef’s media appearances, the chapter also explores the lack of attention accorded to Nacer Kettane’s Le sourire de Brahim and Leïla Sebbar’s Shérazade, 17 ans, brune, frisée, les yeux verts. Kettane promoted his work dogmatically as a political intervention, while Sebbar focused artistic and feminist aspects of her writing. These case studies reveal how Charef successfully positioned himself in a middle ground, as an author who accepted social and political readings of his work but also provided new and unique information on a population that had come to be heavily discussed by journalists and politicians.

Keywords:   Mehdi Charef, Leïla Sebbar, Nacer Kettane, Marche des Beurs, Beur

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