Nomadic Night

Stories of Self

3 Literary Conversations in pairs

Location: Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, view access map
Prices and conditions

About the event

In conjunction with the Felfel Festival: A Celebration of North African Cultures in France with the Institut du monde arabe.
3 Literary Conversations in pairs with Nawel Ben Kraïem, Adila Bennedjaï-Zou, Samira El Ayachi, Kaoutar Harchi, Souad Massi and Lina Soualem.

They are novelists, authors-composers-performers, directors, and screenwriters. They are the heirs to a fragmented memory. In their biographical or autobiographical stories, they give voice to their parents, grandparents, and families, North Africans from Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, and France. They enable invisible people or characters to be seen by the rest of the world, and recount little-known stories of immigration or anonymous destinies which have contributed to collective History. Their works have been praised by the public and media alike. For the Felfel Festival, they discuss in pairs, their stories and accounts, and the modalities of contemporary narration, while referring to each other’s bibliography, archives, discography, and even filmography to share excerpts with the public. Enjoy these literary, poetic, and personal talks, while sipping a lemonade, in the garden of the Fondation Cartier.


16h-17h: Adila Bennedjaï-Zou and Kaoutar Harchi
17h-18h: Nawel Ben Kraïem and Lina Soualem
18h-19h: Souad Massi and Samira El Ayachi

Biographies :

Nawel Ben Kraïem challenges with conviction and energy the idea of fragmentation. Firstly, through her art—she is a singer—but also an actress and poetess. In 2021, she published her first collection of poetry, J’abrite un secret, with Editions Bruno Doucey, which resonates with her latest album of songs. The idea for the latter emerged following a theatrical presentation at the Maison de la poésie, staged by Marcel Bozonnet. Je chante un secret is the fifth album produced by this Franco-Tunisian artist, who grew up in Tunis until the age of sixteen but now lives in Saint-Denis. Nawel encourages us not to break the protective floodgates of our feelings and dreams. In song and in words, she provides the means for inner reconquest. Nawel carries within herself multiple identities, diverse lifestyles, lost generations, and the seeds of the future.

Adila Bennedjaï-Zou is a screenwriter and documentary filmmaker. Her films, inspired by the micro-history trend, recount the anonymous destinies that have contributed to “History”. In her podcasts, notably Mes années Boum, PMA hors la loi, Heureuse comme une arabe en France, and Exologie, she offers a collective autobiographical work built on testimonies, archives, and first-person accounts. Starting from the idea that our private life is imbued with political issues and common values, she seeks to capture the spaces where the personal and the collective merge. She was a resident at the Académie de France in Rome in 2020-2021.

Samira El Ayachi is a French novelist who has collaborated with the performing arts for many years. After her literary baccalaureate and studies in cultural engineering, she published her first novel, La Vie rêvée de Mademoiselle S. (Editions Sarbacane). At the age of thirty, she decided to focus solely on writing and her fourth novel Le ventre des hommes (Editions de l'Aube) attracted the attention of a wider audience. This novel, drawn from her own family history, recounts the lives of men who traveled from southern Morocco to northern France to work in the coal mines. She was named Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture Roselyne Bachelot in 2020.

Kaoutar Harchi is a writer and author, known for the autobiographical account Comme nous existons (Actes Sud, 2021), which narrates the experience of the self, based on social relations of gender, race, and class. This work was translated into English, under the title As we exist (Other Press, 2023). Kaoutar Harchi is currently working on animal issues and their intersections with racial and sexual questions. On this subject, she published an article entitled “Les animaux avec nous, nous avec les animaux” (Ballast, 2022). Kaoutar Harchi was a Visiting Professor at New York University and is now a teacher and researcher in sociology (HETS, Geneva).

Souad Massi is a Franco-Algerian author-singer-songwriter and musician. She discovered classical music and Arab-Andalusian music at an early age, to which she added her own blues, folk, and rock influences. She first performed on stage as part of flamenco and hard rock groups before releasing her first solo cassette in 1998. In 2001, her first album was released to critical acclaim. Souad Massi has since established herself as an artist and spokesperson for Algerian youth. For over twenty years, she has forged a career driven by the values of freedom and justice.

Lina Soualem is a French director and actress with Algerian and Palestinian roots. After studying history and political science, she worked as a programmer for the International Human Rights Film Festival in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In 2020, she directed her first feature-length documentary, Leur Algérie, which was the recipient of numerous awards at both French and international festivals. She is currently working on her second documentary feature Bye Bye Tibériade and recently contributed to the writing of the series Oussekine.

Practical information

Additional information

Estimated duration: 3 hours. The public is free to come and go as they please.
Doors open at 3:30pm.
Limited number of seats available.
The Literary Conversations event takes place in the garden of the Fondation Cartier. Dress warmly depending on the weather.
In case of rain, this Nomadic Night will be cancelled (patrons will be reimbursed upon presentation of the Nomadic Night ticket, dated July 14).

This event will be filmed by the Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain teams for distribution on our digital communication platforms and those of third parties authorized by us. The audience may appear in the produced content. If a person appears in the produced content and wishes to be removed, please contact the Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain at