"The most beautiful thing that can happen to someone is to discover the happiness of reading," says enthusiastically Layla Chaouni Benabdallah, founder of the “Le Fennec” publishing house in 1987. She defends the paper books while rejoicing about the marvelous invention represented by electronic book readers as a small portable library. The publisher is not a little proud of his collection of paperbacks, a battle that she wanted to take to democratize the reading in Morocco: "All books are priced between ten and twenty Dirhams. Some authors such as Bine Bine, Fillali, and Harouchi are participating for the third time. It is a success !”, says Layla Chaouni Benabdallah who also emerged as talent discoverer, of French-language authors such as Mohamed Nedali, or Arabic language authors such as Youssef Fadel, winner of the Atlas Prize for Translation in 2001 for his book "Hashish". But being a publisher is also having a dialogue with the authors: "My big publishing venture with (writer) Fatema Mernissi was a joy! She always had an incredible energy”, says Layla Chaouni Benabdallah who published one of the major books of the sociologist, entitled “Sex, ideology and Islam”. Another figure aroused Layla’s admiration: “Aïcha Ech- Channa, this is another fabulous way!”. Layla also remembers with emotion the writer Jean-Pierre Koffel who directed her Black Collection. Layla Chaouni as a lawyer by training and active defender of women's issues also looks without blushing to her past: "I got married during my last year of law school in Rabat. Four months later, in 1974, my husband was arrested. Prisoner of conscience, he was only released after five years”, she says. Arrested at the same time, she spent two weeks in the prison of Derb Moulay Cherif. The birth of her first child in 1979 brought this painful experience to an end; she then had three more children. Today, she conducts several projects, a series of beautiful books on Moroccan artists, and a collection of audio books.


100 Femmes

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