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Driss Chraïbi

Driss Chraïbi (1926–2007) was born to a merchant family in French Morocco. He attended a French high school in Casablanca, followed by university in Paris, where he earned a degree in chemical engineering. Deciding to become a writer, he worked as a night watchman and laborer until the publication of his first novel, Le Passé simple (1954), which was a success in France and caused a scandal in Morocco, where it was banned until 1977. He published his next novel, Les Boucs (The Butts), in 1955—the year he married Catherine Birckel, with whom he would have five children before they divorced. In 1959, Chraïbi joined Radio France as a journalist, and in the 1970s he taught Maghrebi literature in Quebec. In 1978, he remarried, to Sheena McCallion, with whom he also had five children. Chraïbi wrote some twenty novels and collections of short fiction, including six mysteries featuring the Moroccan Inspector Ali, as well as two volumes of autobiography. He was awarded the Prixde l’Afrique Méditerranéenne in 1973 and the Franco-Arab Friendship Award in 1981. He died in southeastern France and was buried in Casablanca.