Naïm Kattan was born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1928. For the small Jewish community of which he was part, life became very difficult as state sponsored harassment increased, culminating in the post 1951 emigration of many of the country’s Jews. Kattan made his way to Montreal in 1954 and although Arabic is his first language, he has written, according to his own count, more than thirty books in French. Few of these have been translated into English. His fictional, semi-biographical trilogy (Adieu, Babylon; Les fruits arrachés; La fiancée promise) tells of a Jewish man’s childhood in Baghdad, university education in Paris, and establishment in Ottawa and Montreal following his arrival in Canada in 1954. Only the first volume has been translated into English. Kattan is an Officer of the Order of Canada, a Knight of the National Order of Quebec and a Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur.
Translated by Sheila Fischman.
Translation of Adieu, Babylon.
Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1976.
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Fiction (Short stories)
The Neighbour and Other Stories
Translated by Judith Madley and Patricia Claxton.
Translation of .
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Reality and Theatre
Translated by Alan Brown.
Translation of Le Réel et le théâtral.
Toronto: Anansi, 1972.
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Awards and Honours
1971 Prix France-Canada (winner)
Reading Writers Reading: Canadian Authors’ Reflections
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Kattan, Naïm. “La lecture.” In Reading Writers Reading: Canadian Authors’ Reflections. Danielle Schaub, photographer and ed. Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 2006, 124-125.
Selected Criticism and Interpretation
Greenstein, Michael. “Iraquébec: Naïm Kattan’s Trans-mimetic Diaspora.” In Textualizing the Immigrant Experience in Contemporary Quebec, eds. Susan Ireland and Patrice J. Proulx. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2004, 117-126.
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Xavier, Subhagnana. “The Economy of the Migrant Text: Theorizing a French Literature of Migration”.” Ph.D. diss., The University of Wisconsin – Madison, 2007.
Available from Proquest Dissertations and Theses
Profile by Jacques Cotnam in the Canadian Encyclopedia online