Malika Ferdjoukh was born on the Mediterranean coast of Algeria in 1957 and has lived in Paris since childhood. After finishing school she studied Film and Literature, and then started working at a children’s hospital and as a teacher. She says about herself: “I love everything that tells a story. Cinema as much as literature.” Since 1989, she has written children’s books and novels for young adults, television scripts, and she has also published novels for adults under a pseudonym.
Ferdjoukh develops her stories elegantly and nimbly, as if with a smile. Frequently secrets, strange incidents and surprising discoveries become the young protagonists’ field of action. She combines the cheerful tone of her texts with elements of suspense and a certain seriousness. Her playful, humorous handling of difficult themes, such as love, divorce, unemployment and violence, lends her books great complexity.
Thus a band of shrewd children defy a racist murderer in her thriller for adolescents, ‘Fais-moi peur'(1994; Engl: Frighten Me!). The author tells the story of Monsieur N., who suffers from an ‘illness’ called xenophobia. While the Jewish Mintz siblings relish getting the creeps during “M – A City Searches for a Killer” and take advantage of a Christmas eve without parents to make popcorn, a real murderer enters the setting. Ferdjoukh portrays familiar intimate gatherings between siblings with as much pleasure and authenticity as she does the different faces that evil can take, such as the too short Monsieur N., who was not always a murderer, or the SS-henchmen who still torment Grandma Mintz in her dreams. In 2004 Ferdjoukh’s novel for adolescents ‘Sombres citrouilles'(1999; Engl: Black Pumpkins) came out in German translation. When the twins Violette and Annette, and her sibbings Colin, Hermès and Madeleine find a dead person in a pumpkin patch on the family property, a turbulent hunt for the murderer begins. Up until its exciting ending, the author produces a family portrait of great atmospheric density, behind which human abysses loom and children unmask the false world of adults. As in film, the writer utilises precise cuts and surprising shifts in perspective.
Malika Ferdjoukh won the Grand Prix du Roman Jeunesse for ‘Les joues roses'(1993; Engl: The Reddened Cheeks) and one year later the Prix Beaugency for the funniest children’s book of the year. ‘Sombres citrouilles’ was awarded the Prix Sorcières 2000. Her most recent works for young adults include the four-part ‘Quatre-Sœurs’ series (2003f), which has already come out in German translation under the title „Die vier Schwestern“ (2005f)
© international literature festival berlin