Skip to main content
Outdated Browser

For the best experience using our website, we recommend upgrading your browser to a newer version or switching to a supported browser.

More Information

The New French

August 2017

august-2017-the-new-french-kader-attia-modern-architecture-genealogy
Image: Kader Attia, Modern Architecture Genealogy, 2012, Series of collage: cardboard, photographs, and vintage documents. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Krinzinger.

Image: Kader Attia, Modern Architecture Genealogy, 2012, Series of collage: cardboard, photographs, and vintage documents. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Krinzinger.


This month we’re featuring new writing in French by immigrants to France. Whether they come from former colonies or non-Francophone nations, the writers here explore their new country (and, often, language) from a dual perspective, drawing on their previous and current lives to expand and reframe contemporary French literature. Aziz Chouaki tracks an Algerian immigrant’s frenetic first night in Paris. Iranian Négar Djavadi finds her home with Johnny Rotten. In 1994 Rwanda, Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse battles family tension exacerbated by ethnic conflict. Rachid O.‘s Moroccan teen falls in love with both a boy and a country. Zahia Rahmani shows how a doubly exiled Algerian girl recovers her language and, with it, her memories. And Shumona Sinha’s bewildered Hindu escapes death threats, only to undergo a far worse interrogation at the hands of immigration. WWB editorial director Susan Harris provides an introduction.

Recalculating the Hexagon: The New French Literature
By Susan Harris
These writers have migrated geographically and, in some cases, linguistically.
from “The Eagle”
By Aziz Chouaki
Boulevard Barbès, Rochechouart, like a film clip, Arabs, blacks, half-whites.
Translated from French by Lulu Norman
Johnny Rotten, Ari Up, Ian Curtis, Joe Strummer
By Négar Djavadi
Because punk is made so people like you will look at people like me.
Translated from French by Tina Kover
Motherhoods
By Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse
My son now despises me.
Translated from French by Edward Gauvin
from “Muslim: A Novel”
By Zahia Rahmani
I was the daughter of a tainted man.
Translated from French by Lara Vergnaud
Hot Chocolate
By Rachid O.
I was thirteen years old, it was time to steal.
Translated from French by Emma Ramadan
The Man with a Guava Tree
By Shumona Sinha
“Why? Wasn’t there a guava tree at the other guy’s place?”
Translated from French by Roland Glasser