Islam and Contemporary European Literature Featured at Notre Dame

Author: Jennifer Lechtanski

Flier image - Islam symposium

On November 16-17, the University of Notre Dame will host a symposium on “The Place of Islam in Contemporary European Literature.” The first jointly-sponsored conference by the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, and the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, the symposium will bring Europe’s most prominent Muslim and Muslim-born writers to discuss the place of Islam in their work.

Azouz Begag, a prolific novelist, scriptwriter, scholar, and former delegate Minister for Equal Opportunities in France who was awarded Chevalier de L’Ordre du Mérite and Chevalier de La Légion d’Honneur, will give the keynote address. Conference panelists include:

Salim Bachi, novelist, author of Le Chien d’Ulysse (2001, Prix Goncourt for the best first novel)
Azouz Begag, novelist, film director, sociologist, statesman, author of Le Gone du Chaâba (1986)
Ismaïl Ferroukhi, film director, script writer, writer and director of Le Grand Voyage (2004)
Hafid Gafaïti, poet, editor, scholar, Transnational Spaces and Identities in the Francophone World (2009)
Laila Lalami, novelist, Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits (2005), Secret Son (2009)
Malika Mokeddem, novelist, The Forbidden Woman (1994), My Men (2005), Century of Locusts (2006)
Zahia Rahmani, novelist, Musulman: roman (2005), France: récit d’une enfance (2006)
Leila Sebbar, essayist, Sherazade (2000), L’arabe comme un chant secret (2008), Mon cher fils (2009)
Youssef Seddik, poet, scholar, translator, Le Coran (2002), Nous n’avons jamais lu le Coran (2004), Qui sont les barbares? (2007)
Muneeza Shamsie, editor of An Anthology of Pakistani Writing in English (1997) and Contemporary Stories by Pakistani Women (2005)
Alek Baylee Toumi, scholar, playwright, Madah-Sartre (1996), Maghreb Divers (2002), De Beauvoir à beau voile (2005)
Robin Yassin-Kassab, novelist, The Road from Damascus (2008)

Moderated by Notre Dame faculty, panel discussions will focus on the place of Islam in the writing process; the literature of geography, memory, and exile; literature and generational identity; and discussions of literature and power. In addition, the symposium will screen the Le Grand Voyage at 8:30 pm in the Eck Visitors’ Center Auditorium on Monday, November 16. The director, Ismaël Ferroukhi, is scheduled to introduce this extraordinary and award-winning film, which explores a father and son’s relationship as they travel across Europe to Mecca.

Events are free and open to the public. For more a complete listing of panels and speakers, please see the symposium website.

Contact: Anthony Monta at or at 631-3545.