Mahi Binebine is a Moroccan painter and novelist born in Marrakech in 1959. Binebine has written six novels which have been translated into various languages.
Born in 1959 in Marrakech, Mahi Binebine moved in Paris in 1980 to continue his studies in mathematics, which he taught for eight years. He then devoted himself to writing and painting. He wrote several novels, which have been translated into a dozen languages. He emigrated to New York from 1994 to 1999. His paintings are part of the permanent collection at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. He returned to Marrakech in 2002 where he currently lives and works.
In “Mamaya’s Last Journey” the author is drawing on an episode from his own family history. His brother Aziz was one of the young officers who had taken part in the failed military coup against King Hassan II in 1971. For 18 years, he was imprisoned in the desert camp of Tazmamart, under conditions of unimaginable and almost indescribable brutality. Of the 56 prisoners, only half survived; among them, Aziz Binebine. Mahi Binebine’s fellow writer Tahar Ben Jelloun took this story as the basis for his novel This Blinding Absence of Light.
Welcome to Paradise, the English translation of Cannibales (by Lulu Norman) was short-listed for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2004. Horses of God, also translated by Lulu Norman (original: Les étoiles de Sidi Moumen), was shortlisted for the Best Translated Book Award in 2014. It was made into a feature film in Morocco in 2011, called Horses of God, directed by Nabil Ayouch and selected for the official Moroccan entry for best foreign language film for the 2013 Oscars.
Mahi Binebine schrijft romans die vertaald zijn in een tiental talen. Met zijn eerste roman, Le Sommeil de l’esclave (1992), won hij de Prix Méditerranée. In 1999 verscheen de roman Cannibales. Dit is het enige werk van Binebine dat in het Nederlands is vertaald en gaat over een groepje vluchtelingen dat op het strand van Tanger op een mensensmokkelaar wacht die hen zal overzetten naar Europa. Zijn roman Les étoiles de Sidi Moumen is in 2012 verfilmd en is gebaseerd op de zelfmoordaanslagen die plaatsvonden op 16 mei 2003 in Casablanca waarbij 45 mensen werden gedood. Medio april 2019 verschijnt zijn nieuwste roman Rue du Pardon.
Als filantroop ondersteunt Binebine diverse kleinschalige culturele instellingen in heel Marokko.