Aziz Benhaddouch

Aziz Benhaddouch


عزيز بنحدوش

Aziz Benhaddouch was an important Amazighi scholar, public intellectual, activist, poet, and teacher, who died at age 49 in a tragic fishing accident. Trained in sociology and philosophy (taught as linked subjects in the Moroccan system), Benhaddouch had published academic work on the phenomenon of high school drop-outs, and was working as a high-school philosophy teacher when he began to write fiction. Benhaddouch’s first novel Isle of Males is a central example of the Moroccan post-1960s genre الأدب المتزم (‘engaged literature’), in which the writer’s biography intersects with their protagonist’s, granting the book authenticity and heft in the eyes of a politically engaged reading public. But it was partly this very intersection between life and art that led to the work being misread as a journalistic piece, and Benhaddouch’s prosecution under journalism laws: his fictional portrayal of the real-life ‘phantom kids’ phenomenon, in which children were invented on paper by returnees from Europe in order to claim benefits, was seen as documentary work about specific people. The legal case dragged on even after Benhaddouch’s tragic death in 2016, and although he was eventually cleared of all charges, the accusations have contributed to the mythology around Benhaddouch’s work and the book in question within Morocco.

His website (in Arabic):

© Facebook (personal page)
Date of birth : 1967
Date of death: 2016
Country of birth: Morocco
Country of residence: Morocco
Publisher(s): Editions Marsam

Selected bibliography

  • اسنان شيطان, Satan’s Teeth*, Editions Marsam, Morocco, 2015 
  • جزيرة الذكور, Isle of Males*, Editions Marsam, Morocco, 2014
  •  الهدر المدرسي في تازنخت الكبرى: دراسة, School Absence in Taznakhte : a Study* 2012
  • الطفولة والمراهقة في الوسط القروي, Childhood and Adolescence in the Rural Milieu*, 2012

*Working title


Morrocan writer sentenced to 2 months in prison for defamation by Morocco World News, August 2016

Writer gets two-month suspended sentence for novel by TelQuel, August 2016

Book(s) featured on this site

Reviewed by Alice Guthrie