Rethinking the Political through Intercultural Aesthetics

Salim Bachi is author of Le Chien d’Ulysse (2001), Le Silence de Mahomet (2010), Moi, Khaled Khelkal (2012), among other books. In this seminar, Bachi read from his work and discussed the seminar theme of the representation of politics in literature. Translations were available. Bachi’s presentation was followed by further short papers in English by Patrick Crowley and Mohamed-Salah Omri. The discussion was chaired by Jane Hiddleston.

A recording of this event is available here.


Salim Bachi is a celebrated Francophone Algerian writer. He was born in 1971 in Algiers, studied literature at the Sorbonne and published his first novel, Le Chien d’Ulysse, with Gallimard in 2001. The novel was well received by critics and was awarded several prizes. He has since been named ‘the most talented writer of his generation’ in Algeria, exploring through his literary writing Algeria and its history, from colonialism to the recent period marked by terrorism and Islamist resurgence. His first two novels are part of a series constructed around an imaginary city, ancient Cyrtha.
          After a period at the prestigious Villa Medicis in Rome, his third novel, Tuez-les-tous, marks a turning-point in its new focus on a challenging and painful subject. He enters the mind of a terrorist of the 11th September, unravelling the mechanics of terrorist violence and alienation. He goes on to develop a reflection on religion in Le Silence de Mahomet, published in 2008 and selected for the Prix Goncourt, the Prix Goncourt des Lycéens and the Prix Renaudot. In this work, the Prophet Mohammed is the central character, and four of his closest companions recount their memories of his hopes and his doubts, his weaknesses and his greatness. Most recently, Bachi has published a work on Albert Camus, Le Dernier été d’un jeune homme.