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Debate with Boualem Sansal, Martin Schulz, a.o

Location: Brussels, Centre for Fine Arts / Hall M

Co-production Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels e.V.

boualem_sansalBy the time the Algerian writer Boualem Sansal was awarded the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade in the autumn of 2011, the elation generated by the Arab Spring had already given way, in at least some Arab countries, to a certain disillusionment. The period has, nonetheless, changed how power is exercised in that part of the world and has led to an increased awareness within society of political issues. Following readings of extracts from his novels, Boualem Sansal and the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, will discuss lost opportunities, the responsibility of Europe, and the prospects for other moves towards democratisation in Arab societies.

The discussion will be moderated by Stephan Detjen of Deutschlandfunk. Alexander Skipis, Director of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association, and Jean-Marie Laclavetine (of Editions Gallimard) will introduce the evening.

Boualem Sansal (born in 1949) published his first novel with Gallimard in 1999: Le serment des barbares, which deals with corruption and the political situation in Algeria. Following the publication of other critical novels and of an open letter entitled Poste restante : Alger, lettre de colère et d’espoir à mes compatriotes (2006), Sansal was fired from his position as a senior civil servant and his books were banned. His latest novels, Le village de l’Allemand (An Unfinished Business) (2009) and Rue Darwin (2011), have won a number of literary prizes. In 2011 he was awarded the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade; the jury hailed him as “one of the few remaining intellectuals in Algeria who continue to voice criticism of political and social conditions in that country”.

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