January 28 Session: Leila Abouzaid “The Last Chapter”
•Leila Abouzaid is a radio hostess personality. She didn’t have a creative writing
background. And this is not common for Arab women writers.
•Its weakness from a writing perspective, but gives a voice to Moroccan Arabic
writer into English.
•Translated by friends who agreed to write it in English so it may be heard. Editing
process was very poor, very amateur.
•Sense of urgency to justify why Aisha doesn’t get married. So many suitors, but
didn’t get married.
•Urgency reflective of how any women who was not married from that society
would feel. Especially if she’s an intellectual and has education.
•Reflects sense of desperation of a woman in her society. Society struggling in
west and east. More European, or more eastern. Reference to village reveals
ethnic tension. Is Sahara a problem?
•How can educated women believe in witchcraft? Reveals complexity of
•Muslim Arab women don’t believe that if they want to be independent, they don’t
have to reject religious affairs.
•Uses Quran references and prophetic hadith’s to illustrate her identity.
•Aisha is at times vulnerable, take risks to find love.
•Witchcraft plays a lot of roles. She doesn’t let people in, shes always in defense
mode and protecting herself because of mistrust.
•There is always self-censorship, every time she felt something emotional she
would stop it. For ex. When describing Salim’s skin colour and relating it back to
the Sahara, but then stops it saying she is now over him so why does it matter
•Autobiography: what is personal and what is not?