The Alley of the Italians

The Alley of the Italians
(working title)
زنقة الطليان
(Zanqat al taliyan)

Written by

(بومدين بلكبير)

Published by


A marginalised Algerian neighbourhood tells one last tale

The ‘Alley of the Italians’ is a district of the Algerian city of Annaba, whose residents are the poor and marginalised. A journalist named Jalal challenges the mayor, who is determined to destroy the district and its history. There is also Jalal’s cat, who watches everything that goes on around him, and Najat, who dresses like a man, is known by a man’s name – Naji – and lives and dies in the street. 

Noonu is a musician who sells himself to the security services as an informant, and Rasheed is a dervish whose identity is unclear. Is he really just a dervish or, as the security forces say, an evangelist for a dangerous religious organisation? All these characters desperately fight to preserve their humanity, even though some of them work to harm those they care for. In contrast, the government, the town council and the security forces fail to see the people living in the alley of the Italians. They think only about the land which will bring them power and wealth.

Description from the IPAF website

Approximate number of pages: 223 p.

Foreign rights: contact the author‘s agent


Translation samples

Reasons to publish this book

Immigrants from Algeria are among the biggest and oldest populations in Europe. This work is one of the most important recent Arabic novels to come out of Algeria. It was longlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction in 2022 and has been widely reviewed and read.

Prizes and awards


Fayçal Lahmar et Boumediene Belekbir parlent de leur expérience d’écriture (in French) by Salon International du Livre d’Alger, March 2022 (interview)

Interview with longlisted author Boumediene Belkebir by IPAF, March 2022

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