From the Archives: Safia Ketou, the First Algerian Sci-fi Novelist of Post-independence Algeria

ArabLit & ArabLit Quarterly

Back in 2018, our Algeria & Morocco Editor wrote about one of her favorite discoveries, Safia Ketou’s La Planète Mauve et Autres Nouvelles:

By Nadia Ghanem

In six years of rummaging through Algerian literature, Safia Ketou’s sci-fi story “The Mauve Planet” remains my favorite find. Born Zohra Rabhi in 1944, Safia Ketou wrote children books, poetry (Citar FriendsAmie Cithare’), plays (Asma) and short stories. It is in her collectionThe Mauve Planet and Other Storiesthat I discovered her sci-fi inclinations. Ketou is probably the first contemporary Algerian novelist to have written science-fiction in French. I have come across no other Algerian novelists interested in sci-fi during this period, out of those who wrote in the French language, and have personally elected her the first sci-fi writer of post-independence Algeria. Someone must have written sci-fi in Arabic, and she or he remains to be…

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