Ahmed Fagih

Mizdah, Libya

A newspaper columnist, diplomat, novelist, playwright, journalist and director of music and drama in Tripoli, Fagih was a prolific creative and thinker who was a leader in modern Libyan literature and philosophy. Fagih’s work fluctuates between fantasy and reality with ease to explore the complexity of characters and Libya’s rich culture and history. 

Some of his most famous works include:  

Gardens of the Night (1995): listed sixteenth in the Arab Writers’ Union list of the hundred best Arabic novels of the 20th century “Gardens of the Night tells of a Libyan professor’s struggle against personal demons. It is a haunting exploration of the clashes between violence and sexuality, tradition and modern life, repression and uninhibited freedom. From its evocative opening in Edinburgh to its tragic denouement in Tripoli, this complex interweaving of fantasy and the mundane grips the imagination and throws fresh light on the nature of obsessive erotic love.” (AbeBooks 2019) 

Maps of the Soul: Fagih’s coming-of-age novel Maps of the Soul follows the journey of a young Libyan man in the 1930s in the time of the Italian occupation. It is an epic journey of three parts with only part 1 currently translated into English. The English publication was issued by Darf publishers UK.  

Homeless Rats (2011): “Here, a colony of jerboa – nocturnal desert rodents – are caught between rival Bedouin clans who desperately vie for land and resources. Drawing from traditional storytelling and myth, these silent inhabitants of the desert are given a narrative voice whose observations drive the novel. Fagih interweaves the voices of the animal and human inhabitants of the Libyan desert to paint a picture of life in this desolate place.” (Black 2016) 

Share this: