Modern Languages - French
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Terror and Fundamentalism

Literary Reading by

Slimane Benaïssa

September 23, 2004 - 5:00 pm
Claude Pepper Auditorium

Playwright, actor, and director Slimane Benaïssa examines the events of 9/11 and the relations between Islam and the West in his novel La Dernière Nuit d’un damné (Plon, 2003), which gives a human face to terrorism through the character of a young Arab American man in search of spiritual and cultural identity. With extensive quotations from the Koran, it explores the terrifying logic of the suicide bomber. The novel won France’s Prix Méditerranée in 2003. Copies of the English translation, The Last Night of a Damned Soul (Grove Press, 2004), have been ordered for the FSU bookstore on Woodward Street. Benaïssa will read from an answer questions on the novel in French on September 23.

Born in Algeria, Slimane Benaïssa has a multicultural heritage (Berber, Arabic, and French). He has resided in France since 1993 when terrorist threats forced him to leave Algeria, and he now writes and performs in French. He has won awards for his theatre, and in 2000 President Chirac named him to the Haut Conseil de la Francophonie. In over a dozen plays, three novels, and numerous conferences and workshops, Benaïssa confronts the world of political violence and religious intolerance by presenting both sides of complex and controversial topics such as terrorism, torture, Arab-Israeli relations, and the wearing of the veil.

Trained in math and electrical engineering but drawn to literary studies, Benaïssa discovered theatre in Algeria in the early 1970s. He adapted and translated plays by Brecht, Aeschylus, and most notably Kateb Yacine from French into dialectical Arabic. As an actor he performed widely throughout Algeria and founded Algeria's first independent theatre troupe. His visit to FSU has been arranged by the Winthrop-King Institute for Contemporary French and Francophone Studies in conjunction with Grinnell Gollege, sponsor of M. Benaïssa's visit to the United States, and with FSU's Middle East Center.

For more information contact:
Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida 32306-1540 Telephone 850.644.7636 Fax 850.644.9917 E-mail Website 

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