Abdelkader Benali

Writer, television maker, literary curator and honorary fellow at the University of Amsterdam; Morocco and the Netherlands

Abdelkader Benali, is a writer, television maker and literary curator. Currently, he is a honorary fellow at the University of Amsterdam and was a Cultural Professor at the University of Delft in 2017. He live and work in Amsterdam but go regularly to Tangier where he and his wife have an apartment. Abdelkader was born in Morocco in 1975 and migrated with his mother and sister to Holland in 1979. Throughout his life he has lived in Rome and Beirut and travelled extensively in the Middle-East, West-Africa, Latin-America and Europe.

He is currently working on a new novel to come out in the spring of 2019. As an avid runner he has finished 8 marathons, 6 of them under three hours. He has written two fiction books on marathon running, exploring the realm of sport and literature. When he came to Holland at the age of 4 he discovered the joy of reading and his writing is stimulated by reading books of renowned child book authors, like Roald Dahl. Abdelkader won several writing contests at the age of 17 and was scouted by a Dutch publishing house. They gave him the chance to write his first novel. Wedding by the Sea came out in 1996, and was nominated for the Libris Literatuur Prijs (the equivalent of the Booker Prijs). The novel has been translated into more then 10 languages. He won the Libris Literatuur Prijs with his second novel, The Long Awaited. This book was translated into French, Spanish and Italian. He has written extensively on the topics of migration and individual transformation and his articles on these topics have been published in The Guardian (England), New York Times, Neue Zurcher Zeitung (Switzerland) and others. In his novels individuals struggle to overcome the tensions between the expectations of the mother country and the expectations of the new country.

He was a member of the advisory board of the Rijks Museum Amsterdam for 8 years. The board members advised the director and his staff on the goals and long time developments of the museum.
One of his projects is to bring creative writing to children. He has been and still are involved in projects that stimulate young people who come from underprivileged classes to express their dreams and feelings, through creative writing. He has seen the empowering effect of these projects and I’ll continue to give these workshops.

He lives in Amsterdam with his wife, Saida, and their daughter Amber. Together with his wife he wrote a Moroccan cookbook that was published in Holland. The cookbook was made into a television serie highlighting the culinary and cultural heritage of Morocco.

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