Writers in Residence
Spring Quarter 2017 Visiting Writer in Residence DRISS KSIKES teaching The Art of Playwriting
Driss Ksikes is a prolific novelist, playwright, and journalist. He is Director of CESEM (Centre d’Etudes Sociales, Economiques et Managériales) in Rabat, the editor in chief of the important periodical Economia, and has published a number of academic essays on Moroccan cultural life. His first play, Pas de mémoire, mémoire de pas, was published in Casablanca in 1998. His other plays include Le saint des incertains (2001), Pomme noire (2007), IL/Houwa (2008), Le Match (2013), and N’enterrez pas trop vite Big Brother (2014). He published his first novel, Ma boite noire, in 2006. Ksikes has also maintained an active journalism career, most notably as editor-in-chief of the groundbreaking Moroccan magazine TelQuel and its Arabic sister publication Nichane from 2002 to 2006. His 2014 coauthored Le métier d’intellectuel: dialogues avec quinze penseurs du Maroc (The intellectual profession: interviews with fifteen Moroccan thinkers) won the 2015 Prix Grand Atlas, which is Morocco’s biggest book prize.
His professional accomplishments aside, Ksikes has throughout his life been an outspoken advocate for free speech and democracy in Morocco. His commitment to human rights has frequently crossed Morocco’s notorious boundaries of acceptable speech; in 2006, the Moroccan government charged Ksikes and a fellow journalist with defaming Islam and damaging public morality for an article in Nichane which mocked the intersection of religion and politics. He was convicted, fined, and received a three-year suspended jail sentence. He later said that the trial only increased his commitment to promoting public debate. In 2011 and 2012, he actively participated in the 20 February Movement, Morocco’s offshoot of the Arab Spring, which led to the Moroccan government passing a series of constitutional reforms limiting the power of the monarchy.