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Novelist and Poet

Tahar Ben JellounLast year, The Moroccan poet and novelist, Tahar Ben Jelloun set out to answer questions about racism posed by his ten-year-old daughter, Merieme after the two participated in a protest against anti-immigrant laws in France. In doing so, Mr. Ben Jelloun purposefully described racism as a universal phenomenon and not one limited to France. "Racism, as Explained to My Daughter," published by Editions du Seuil last January, became a runaway number-one best-seller in France and across Europe where it has been translated into 15 languages.

"Racism, as Explained to My Daughter," will be published this spring by The New Press, a nonprofit publisher in the public interest, with a foreword by Bill Cosby and personal responses from four leading American writers and educators who are also parents: William Ayers, Lisa D. Delpit, David Mura, and Patricia Williams. Written as a simple, yet compelling, dialogue between the author and his daughter, the book has been praised as "an excellent tool to fight racism. Everybody should read it" (LeMonde des livres). A trained psychologist, Mr. Ben Jelloun "has a fine sense for the cruelties even the most civilized people can inflict on one another" (New York Times). Tahar Ben Jelloun is the first North African to win the Prix Concourt, France's equivalent of the National Book Award for his novel The Sacred Night in 1987. Winner of the 1994 Prix Maghreb, Mr. Ben Jelloun is described as one of the most acclaimed novelists writing in French today. His novel, Corruption was published by The New Press in 1996. Born in Fez, Morocco in 1944, Mr. Ben Jelloun emigrated to France in 1967. A novelist, essayist, critic and poet, he is a regular contributor to Le Monde.

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