Naim Kattan

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.


Farewell Babylon

Translated by Sheila Fischman.
Translation of Adieu, Babylon.
Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1976.
PS9571 .A88 A7313

Publisher’s Synopsis

The Neighbour and Other Stories book cover

Fiction (Short stories)

The Neighbour and Other Stories

Translated by Judith Madley and Patricia Claxton.
Translation of .
PS9571 .A88 N4 1982

Publisher’s Synopsis


Reality and Theatre

Translated by Alan Brown.
Translation of Le Réel et le théâtral.
Toronto: Anansi, 1972.
CB427 .K3813

Awards and Honours

1971 Prix France-Canada (winner)

Reading Writers Reading book cover


Reading Writers Reading: Canadian Authors’ Reflections

Z1039 .A87 R43 2006

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.
PQ3917 .Q3 T49 2004

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