Youssouf Amine Elalamy was born in Larache in Morocco in 1961. He studied Communication Science and published numerous articles in international journals on photography, art, fashion and advertising. In 1991 he went to New York on a Fulbright scholarship and returned to Morocco three years later, where he teaches style, communication and media as a full professor at the Ibn-Tofaï University in Kenitra.
Elalamy’s literary, visual and sculptural work is marked by his interest in details, forms of expression, the composition of discourses and their media dissemination. In 1998 he published the first part of his trilogy of emigration. »Un Marocain à New York« (1998, Eng : A Moroccan in New York, 2008) collects impressions of a confrontation with a completely different culture. »Les clandestins« (2001, tr: The Secretive Ones) tells the stories of thirteen refugees stranded on a beach in the Straits of Gibraltar. »Paris mon bled« (2002, tr: Paris, my hinterland) provides insights into the heterogeneous culture of third generation Moroccan immigrants in the French capital. The author’s narratives are characterized by masterfully handled hybrids fusing disparate elements, which are guided by modern literature and, increasingly, rap poetry. Varying narrative perspectives and plot strands, prose styles, time frames and languages are combined using powerful imagery. An enigmatic and tense area is born of various close-ups and juxtapositions – tradition and modernity, violence and intimacy, the sacred and profane, rich and poor, man and woman. The tragic and comic elements are frequently shot through with satire.
Elalamy’s last four works have been set in Morocco, and include »Miniatures« (2004), a kaleidoscope of 50 »lifeworld« microcosms. These provided inspiration for crossover works in other art media: »Miniatures« inspired the artist’s own collages, which have been exhibited in several galleries. His short story collection »Tqarqib Ennab« (2006 tr: Gossip) was the first book ever written in Darija (Moroccan Arabic) and was adapted for the stage. His most recent novel »Nomade« (2009, tr: Nomads) was presented as an urban installation in Marrakesh, Rotterdam and Rabat.
Elalamy has participated, as a visual artist and curator, in numerous international exhibitions, including »Soundscape« at the Berlin House of the Cultures of the World, and a staging of »Les clandestins« at the Avignon Festival. He has been awarded among others the British Council’s Short Story Prize and the Prix Grand Atlas. Elalamy is a founding member and the current secretary general of the Moroccan PEN Club. He lives in Rabat.
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