Malika Moustadraf (1969–2006) is a cult feminist icon in contemporary Moroccan literature, celebrated for her stark interrogation of gender and sexuality in North Africa. She lived, worked, and died at just 37 in the major Atlantic port city of Casablanca, dedicating much of her short life to honing her Arabic literary craft. Moustadraf was probably still in her teens when she wrote her first and only complete novel, Wounds of the Soul and the Body (Jirah al-ruh wa-l-jasad), working on it in secret in the bathroom of her family home and struggling to get it any attention from established writers and publishers. Eventually, she used money she saved by skipping essential kidney medication to pay to get it published, in 1999. This raw and controversial fictionalised first-person account of surviving childhood sexual abuse was very highly praised by the Moroccan literati (including superstar Ahmed Bouzfour). As a result, her only other complete book, the extraordinary short story collection Trente-Six, was published for free by the University of Casablanca’s celebrated literary press, to huge critical acclaim. Had her life not been tragically cut short, Moustadraf would undoubtedly have gone on to reach great artistic heights. After her death her work fell out of print in Morocco, but she began to be translated into English in 2014, leading to a 2022 English complete short stories collection, Blood Feast, in the UK and US, and a reissue of the corresponding original Arabic in Egypt in 2020.
- ترانت سيس, Thirty Six*, Moroccan Short Story Research Group, Morocco, 2004; Manshourat Al-Rabie, Egypt, 2020 (expanded edition). English translations (all by Alice Guthrie): “Delusion”, 2016; “Just Different”, 2016,; “Thirty-Six”, 2022; Blood Feast: the Complete Short Stories of Malika Moustadraf, Feminist Press NYC, United States, 2022; “Death”, 2022; “A Day in the Life of a Married Man”; 2022; Something Strange, Like Hunger, Saqi, United Kingdom
- جراح الروح والجسد, Wounds of the Soul and Body*, Editions Accent, Morocco, 1999
* Working title
Welcome to Casablanca: Blood Feast by Malika Moustadraf by Rough Ghosts, August 2022
Unexpired Bodies: On Malika Moustadraf’s Blood Feast by Asymptote Journal, May 2022
Moustadraf’s writing is sharp and biting in “It’s a Man’s World: A Review of Blood Feast”, Ancillary Review of Books, February 2022
Her style is unflinching, whether she’s dissecting the impact of patriarchal culture on women and children or excoriating corruption in the health care system” in Blood Feast review, Kirkus Reviews, January 2022