Zahia Rahmani was born in Algeria in 1962, and now lives in Paris and the Oise region of France. In Paris, she studied literature and art history, concentrating on modern and contemporary art. After writing her masters thesis on Robert Rauschenberg, she left France to work with Léo Castelli in New York in 1988-1989. On returning to France, she continued to study aesthetics and worked in various locations important to contemporary art, such as the Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume, the École des Beaux Arts de Nice and the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Paris. She currently directs a research program at the Institut national d'Histoire de l'art. In addition, Rahmani participates in discussions about contemporary art and literature by way of autobiographical fiction and articles on literary criticism in various reviews. She is the author of Moze, "Musulman" Roman and France, Récit d'une enfance all published by Wespieser in France.
Zahia Rahmani will be a visiting professor at the NYU Gallatin Faculty in the Fall of 2016.
- Moze, Sabine Wespieser, 2003
- "Musulman" roman, Sabine Wespieser, 2005
About France, Story Of a Childhood
(Yale University Press, 2016, Translated by Lara Vergnaud)
This moving tale of imprisonment and escape, persecution and loss, is narrated by the daughter of an alleged Harki, an Algerian soldier who fought for the French during the Algerian War for Independence. It was the fate of such men to be twice exiled, first in their homeland after the war, and later in France, where fleeing Harki families sought refuge but instead faced contempt, discrimination, and exclusion.
Zahia Rahmani blends reality and imagination in her writing, offering a fictionalized version of her own family’s struggle. Lara Vergnaud’s beautiful translation from the French perfectly captures the voices and emotions of Rahmani’s childhood in a foreign land. While the author delves deeply into the past, she also indicts present-day France and Algeria. From the unique perspective of the daughter of an accused Harki, she examines France’s complex and controversial history with its former colony and offers new insight into the French civil riots of 2005. She makes a stirring plea for understanding between generations and cultures, and especially for an end to the destructive practice of condemning children for their fathers’ actions and beliefs.
Note that we have limited funding available for Zahia Rahmani's tour. If your institution is not based in the New York area, please let us know if you would be able to arrange for travel to/from the event.
-October 3, 2016: New York University, Maison Française
-October 15, 2016: Boston Book Festival
New York, NY