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Cultural exchanges between France and Morocco date back to as early as the 8th century. Celebrating France’s high regard for Moroccan literature, and to further promote their culture and prominent literary figures in France, the 2017 edition of the Paris International Book Fair (Salon Livre Paris 2017), witnessed the country as guest of honour – the first time ever the Fair highlighted an Arab country.
The purpose of the collaboration was to highlight the latest Moroccan literary and intellectual productions — particularly those covering social and cultural issues. The fair hosted a large number of Moroccan publishers who showcased Arabic and French publications. Several Moroccan writers, academics, essayists and novelists were seen participating in various events at ‘Pavillon Maroc’, conceived as a large library containing an amphitheatre, meeting rooms and projection spaces.
Moroccan literary agents networked with French publishers at the fair, in areas of translations, publishing and distribution copyrights for titles published and translated by both countries.
Some of Morocco’s most celebrated authors and intellectuals include: Tahar Ben Jelloun, a famous France-based Moroccan thinker and writer; Leïla Slimani, winner of Prix Goncourt 2016 for her novel, Chanson Douce (Sweet Song); and Abdellah Taïa also attended the Fair.