Leïla Slimani: ‘I think I’m always writing about women, domination, violence’

The French-Moroccan author on why she writes, the complexity of identity, and the first book of a trilogy based on her family history

Author Leïla Slimani, 39, grew up in Rabat, Morocco, and moved to Paris when she was 17. Her first novel, Adèle, a melancholy story about a nymphomaniac mother in her 30s, was published in France in 2014. In 2016, she was the first Moroccan woman to win France’s most prestigious literary award, the Prix Goncourt, for her second novel, Lullaby, about a nanny who kills the baby and toddler in her care. In 2017, President Emmanuel Macron appointed her as his personal representative for promoting French language and culture.

Last year, Slimani published a nonfiction book, Sex and Lies, a collection of intimate testimonies from Moroccan women about their secret lives. Her latest book, The Country of Others, is the first novel in a planned trilogy based on her family history. Set in the late 1940s and 50s, it centres on her maternal grandparents during Morocco’s period of decolonisation. Slimani lives with her husband and two children in Paris.

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