Branding the ‘Beur’ Author

BookBranding the ‘Beur’ Author

Branding the ‘Beur’ Author

Minority Writing and the Media in France

Contemporary French and Francophone Cultures, 36


December 30th, 2015

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Branding the Beur Author focuses on the mainstream media promotion of literature written by the descendants of North African immigrants to France (often called beurs). These conversations between journalists and ‘beur’ authors delve into contemporary debates such as the explosion of racism in the 1980s and the purported role of Islam in French society in the 1990s. But the interests of journalists looking for sensational subject matter also heavily shape the promotion and reception of these novels: only the ‘beur’ authors who employ a realist style to write about the challenges faced by the North African immigrant population in France—and who engage on-air with French identity politics and immigration—receive multiple invitations to participate in interviews. Previous scholarship has taken a necessary first step by analyzing the social and political stakes of this literature (using labels such as ‘beur’ and/or ‘banlieue,’ to designate its urban, economically distressed setting), but the book argues that we must move beyond this approach because it reproduces the selection criteria deployed by the media that determine which books receive the most commercial and critical support. By demonstrating how minority-based literary labels such as ‘francophone’ and ‘postcolonial’ are always already defined by the socio-political context in which books are published and promoted, the book establishes that these labels are tautological and cannot reflect the thematic and stylistic richness of beur (and other minority) production in France.


'Kleppinger puts forth a compelling model for understanding the changes over time in the reception of North African French writers and in their own aesthetic goals.'
Kristen Stern, Davidson College, H-France Review

'In this work Kleppinger successfully brings together divergent fields to elucidate complex issues, all the while remaining accessible and comprehensible to those who may not be experts on the subject.'
Christopher Ice, Studies in 20th and 21st Century Literature 

Author Information

Kathryn A. Kleppinger is Associate Professor of French Studies and International Affairs at The George Washington University.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
List of Illustrations13
1. Authorship at a Crossroads15
2. Mehdi Charef and the Invention of Beur Writing94
3. Competing Visions of Minority Authorship94
4. Eyewitness Narratives and the Creation of the Beurette135
5. Rachid Djaïdani and the Shift from Beur to Banlieue Writing176
6. Revising the Beurette Label215
7. Sabri Louatah and the Collectif Qui Fait la France?249
Works Cited268