Choukri, Mohamed 1935-2003
CHOUKRI, Mohamed 1935-2003
OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born July 15, 1935, in Beni Chiker, Morocco; died of cancer, November 15, 2003, in Rabat, Morocco. Author. One of Morocco's most famous authors, Choukri is best remembered for his revealing memoir For Bread Alone (1973), which was banned for two decades in his native Morocco. Born into poverty in the Rif mountain region of Morocco, in 1942 Choukri was sold by his father to another man, who put the boy to work at a Tangier cafe. Consequently, he received no education until he was twenty-one years old. But Choukri eventually learned to read and write and even became a professor of Arabic in Tangier from 1960 to 1981. His first book, For Bread Alone, told of his early hardships in Tangier, and its honest confessions and stories of drug dealers, prostitution, and other crimes violated so many religious taboos in Morocco that it was banned. However, the book soon received a wide audience in Europe and America, and it was eventually published in Morocco, too. In addition to this book, Choukri was most famous for his close friendships with authors Jean Genet and Tennessee Williams, who often visited him on their trips to Tangier. Choukri recorded their encounters in his books Jean Genet in Tangier (1973), T. Williams in Tangier (1973), and Jean Genet et Tennessee Williams à Tanger (1992), which critics have found notable for their perceptive insights into these famous authors. Although his more recent works are not as well known, Choukri continued to publish throughout his life, including two sequels to his memoir: The Time of Errors and Faces, Loves, Curses. He was also the author of the short-story collection The Tent (1984), the novel Socco Chico (1986), and the more recent books Street-wise (1996) and Al-Khaymah: Isas (2000).
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Independent (London, England), November 19, 2003, p. 18.
Times (London, England), November 24, 2003.