Born in Tunisia in 1953, Ahlem is an Algerian writer who has been called “the world’s best-known arabophone woman novelist.” Following an assassination attempt which targeted her father which left him hospitalized in the 70s, as the eldest sibling she took on a job as a radio host to provide for the family. By the age of 17, she was household name in Algeria for her daily radio show.
In 1973, she became the first woman to publish a compilation of poetry in Arabic. Ahlem was also part of the first generation to have the right to study in Arabic in post-war Algeria after more than a century of French occupation. Her writings led the fight against injustice, totalitarianism, corruption, fundamentalism, colonization and denigration of women’s rights. Ahlem’s quotes on politics and love are widely used within the Arab world.