1970, Sidiboujedain, Morocco
Moroccan roots. Writes about the multicultural society in all its facets.
Rachida Lamrabet grew up in the multi-coloured Borgerhout district of Antwerp and works as a lawyer for the Belgian Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism. In 2006 she won the Belgian Kif Kif ‘Colour the Arts’ Literary Prize with the story Mercedes 207, about a man who regularly travels back and forth between his relatives in Morocco and his family in Antwerp. She made her debut in 2007 with Vrouwland (Woman Land), a story about young people who dream of a better life. In 2008 Vrouwland won the Flemish Debut Prize for best Dutch-language literary debut, sponsored jointly by the Province of Antwerp. In January 2009 she was awarded the BNG New Literature Prize 2008 for her collection of short stories Een kind van God (God’s Child). In that same year, Lettre à un garçon du quartier (Letter to a Young Boy From the Neighbourhood) appeared in the epistolary novel Lettres à un jeune Marocain (Letters to a Young Moroccan, 2009), published by the French publishing house Seuil. Lamrabet has also written for the theatre (Belga, commissioned by the Flemish theatre company ’t Arsenaal) and two radio books (Kikker, Frog, and Het meisje en de kat, The Girl and the Cat). In October 2011 her second novel, De man die niet begraven wilde worden (The Man Who Didn’t Want to be Buried), was published by the Bezige Bij publishing house in Antwerp.
Lamrabet is of Moroccan origin and considers this to be an essential part of her Flemish identity. Her characters are new Belgians struggling with themselves and their origins, but she also convincingly demonstrates that the problems of the multicultural society have socio-economic roots. As such she fits seamlessly into the Flemish literary tradition of the social novel, in the style of such writers as Streuvels, Buysse or Walschap.
A Child of God
Luchterhand Verlag, 2012
Translated by Heike Baryga
Original title: Een kind van God (Manteau, 2008)
In A child of God [German title: Über die Liebe und den Hass]Rachida Lamrabet tells ordinary stories about extraordinary people. They cross each other on the bus, in an old people’s home or at a wedding. After briefly meeting they continue their own story. Lamrabet’s stories deals with exclusion and estrangement. An old man and a littly baby that have to look after each other, a boy who cannot go to school and who goes in search for his grandmothers. Ouarda, who, pushed by an impossible love, sells tickets to the hereafter. In this surprising book you can feel the heartbeat of countless other stories that pass us by of which we can only assume their existence. Courageously and passionately,
Lamrabet wrote a chronicle of joy, atrocity and the unpredictable fate in the metropolis. She writes right from the shoulder. The amazement in these stories evokes an electrifying tension. The
atmosphere invoked by Lamrabet, holds fathers who struggle with themselves and a mother who fights with all her heart and soul for her child. The next generation tries to draw a better life from insecurity, ambivalence and humour.