Mouloud Mammeri (Kabyle: Mulud At Mɛammar) was a Berber writer, anthropologist and linguist. Born on December 28, 1917 in Tawrirt Mimun, Ait Yenni, in Tizi Ouzou Province, French Algeria; died in February 1989 near Aïn Defla in a car accident while returning from a conference in Oujda, Morocco.

Mouloud Mammeri
Mouloud Mammeri
Mouloud Mammeri
BornDecember 28, 1917
Ait Yanni, Algeria
DiedFebruary 26, 1989 (aged 71)
Aïn Defla, Algeria
OccupationWriter, Linguist, Researcher
LanguageBerber, French
Period40s to 80s
Notable worksTajeṛṛumt n Tmaziɣt
Amawal Tamazight-Tafransist

SignatureThe two signatures of Mouloud Mammeri


Mouloud Mammeri attended a primary school in his native village. In 1928 he emigrated to Morocco to live in his uncle's house in Rabat. Four years later he returned to Algiers and pursued his studies at Bugeaud College. He then went to Lycée Louis-le-Grand in Paris intending to join the École Normale Supérieure. Conscripted in 1939 and discharged in October 1940, Mouloud Mammeri registered at the Faculté des Lettres d’Alger. Re-conscripted in 1942 after the American landing, he participated in the allied campaigns in France, Italy, and Germany.[1]

After the end of the war, he received his degree as a professor of arts and returned to Algeria in September 1947. He taught in Médéa, and then in Ben Aknoun, and published his first novel, The Forgotten Hill in 1952. He was forced to leave Algiers in 1957 because of the Algerian War. Mouloud came back to Algeria shortly after its independence, in 1962. From 1965 to 1972 he taught Berber at the university in the department of ethnology. Teaching Berber was prohibited in 1962 by the Algerian government. He voluntarily taught some Berber courses under certain permission until 1973, when certain courses such as ethnology and anthropology were judged as "colonial sciences" and disbanded. From 1969 to 1980 Mouloud Mammeri directed the Anthropological, Prehistoric and Ethnographic Research center at Algiers (CRAPE). He also headed the first national union of Algerian writers for a time, until he left due to disagreements over views of the role of writers in society. In 1969 Mouloud Mammeri collected and published texts of the Berber poet Si Mohand. In 1980, the prohibition of one of his conferences at Tizi Ouzou on kabyle poetry caused riots and what would be called the Berber Spring in Kabylie.[2]

In 1972, he published the grammar of Tamazight in Tamazight, a book in which he used a Latin-based alphabet and defined the orthographic rules for this language. These became the standard for writing in Tamazight today.[3]

In 1982, he founded the Center of Amazigh Studies and Research (CERAM) and a periodical called Awal (The Word) in Paris, and organized several seminars on amazigh language and literature at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS). Thus he was able to compile a wealth of information on the Berber language and literature. In 1988 Mouloud Mammeri received an honorary doctorate from Sorbonne.

Mouloud Mammeri died the evening of February 26, 1989 in a car accident, which took place near Ain-Defla on his return from a symposium in Oujda (Morocco). His funeral was spectacular, with more than 200,000 people in attendance. No officials attended the funeral, where the crowd organized in demonstrating against the government.[4]


Every thing started with the dominos argument which exasperated Arezki and which Sliman, his young brother, had, once again, explained immediately: "This war is the salvation of the infortunate. When everything burns, when every thing is destroyed, when the storm, the avalanche and the hurricane have carried away or engulfed everything, the earth will once again be virgin. Everything will be questioned. It will be just like in dominos: a new distribution will be made", And you'll be a beggar as before, said Arezki. "No, my brother we've suffered enough, it's time for the poor to be fortunate".

— Mouloud Maameri, Extracted from The sleep of the Just, 1940


« His novels represent, so to say, four moments of Algeria: “The Forgotten Hill” the years around 1942 and the unrest in the native village with the departure for the country of the “others”; “The sleep of the just” the experience of the Algerian in the new country and the return, disappointed, and “Opium and the stick” the war of liberation in a village of the Djurdjura mountains, and finally “the Crossing” the period after 1962 which finishes on the disenchantment.


Mouloud Mammeri University of Tizi-Ouzou is named after him. The culture hall in the city of Tizi Ouzou is also named after him.



  • "La Collaoine " », Paris, Plon, 1952, 2nde édition, Paris, Union Générale d’Éditions, S.N.E.D., col. 10/18, 1978 (ISBN 2-264-00907-1); Paris, Folio Gallimard, 1992 (ISBN 2-07-038474-8).
  • "Le petit stupide", Paris, Plon, 1952, 2nde édition, Paris, Union Générale d’Éditions, S.N.E.D., col. 10/18, 1978 (ISBN 2-264-00908-X).
  • L'opium et le bâton: roman (in French). (1965/1992). Paris: Éditions La Découverte. ISBN 2-7071-2086-3.
  • "La Traversée", Paris, Plon, 1982, 2nde édition, Alger, Bouchène, 1992.

Short StoriesEdit

  • « Ameur des arcades et l’ordre », Paris, 1953, Plon, « La table ronde », N°72.
  • « Le petit mechant», Preuves, Paris, N° 76, Juin 1957, PP. 33–67.
  • « La Meute », Europe, Paris, N°567-568, Juillet-Août 1976 .
  • « L’Hibiscus », Montréal, 1985, Dérives N°49, PP. 67–80.
  • « Le Désert Atavique », Paris, 1981, quotidien Le Monde du 16 Août 1981.
  • « Ténéré Atavique », Paris, 1983, Revue Autrement N°05.
  • « Escales », Alger, 1985, Révolution africaine; Paris, 1992, La Découverte (ISBN 2-7071-2043-X).


  • « Le Foehn ou la preuve par neuf », Paris, PubliSud, 1982, 2nde édition, Paris, pièce jouée à Alger en 1967 .
  • « Le Banquet », précédé d’un dossier, la mort absurde des aztèques, Paris, Librairie académique Perrin, 1973.
  • « La Cité du soleil », sortie en trois tableaux, Alger, 1987, Laphomic, M. Mammeri : Entretien avec Tahar Djaout, pp. 62–94.

Translation and literary criticismEdit

  • Les Isefra by Mohand ou Mohand (in French). (1969). Paris: F. Maspero. OCLC 186896.
  • Poèmes kabyles anciens (in French). (1980). Paris: F. Maspero. ISBN 2-7071-1150-3.
  • « L ‘Ahellil du Gourara », Paris, M.S.H., 1984 (ISBN 2-7351-0107-X).
  • « Yenna-yas Ccix Muhand », Alger, Laphomic, 1989.
  • « Machaho, contes berbères de Kabylie », Paris, Bordas.
  • « Tellem chaho, contes berbères de Kabylie », Paris, Bordas, 1980.

Grammar and linguisticEdit

  • « Tajeṛṛumt n tmaziɣt (tantala taqbaylit) », Paris, Maspéro, 1976.
  • Précis de grammaire berbère (kabyle) (in French). (1987). Paris: Editions AWAL. ISBN 2-906659-00-2.
  • « Lexique français-touareg », en collaboration avec J.M. Cortade, Paris, Arts et métiers graphiques, 1967.
  • « Amawal Tamazight-Français et Français-Tamazight », Imedyazen, Paris, 1980.
  • « Awal », cahiers d’études berbères, sous la direction de M. Mammeri, 1985–1989, Paris, Awal