(the pen name of Fatma-Zohra Imalhayene)
Assia Djebar was born in Algeria to parents from the Berkani tribe of Dahra. She adopted the pen name Assia Djebar when her first novel, La Soif (Hunger) was published in 1957, in France where she was studying at the Sorbonne.
In 1958, she travelled to Tunis, where she worked as a reporter alongside Frantz Fanon, travelling to Algerian refugee camps on the Tunisian border with the Red Cross and Crescent. In 1962, she returned to Algeria to report on the first days of the country's independence.
She settled in Algeria in 1974, and began teaching at the University of Algiers. In 1978, she made a feature film with an Algerian TV company, The Nouba of the Women on Mont Chenoua, which won the critics' prize at Venice. Her second feature, La Zerda, won a prize at Berlin in 1983. In 1995, she took up an academic post at the University of Louisiana, Baton Rouge, and in 2002 was named a Silver Chair at New York University. She is a member of the Belgian Royal Academy and of the Academie Française.
She published her first four novels in France, between 1957 and 1967. These were followed by her Algerian quartet, of which three titles are complete to date, and by her three "novels of exile." Djebar has also published short stories, essay collections and two libretti. All of her writing is in French.