Tahar Wattar is among the most important and highly acclaimed Arabic novelists and short story writers in Algeria and perhaps the best known Algerian Arabic writer in most Arab countries. His two novels published in 1974 were among the first novels published in Arabic in post-independence Algeria, following Bin Haduqah's Rih al-janub (The wind from the south) which, in 1972 was the first Arabic novel to achieve significant success and gain critical acclaim. In 1975 Wattar completed his third novel Urs baghl (A mule's wedding), which was published first in Beirut in 1978, and then in Algeria in 1980. He has published four further novels, and has founded various literary journals, including a bilingual review called al-Tabyine (The exposition / illustration). He has also been employed as a director of programming for state radio and has interests in the theatre. He has become a controversial figure in recent years because of his outspoken criticism of certain writers and critics associated with Algeria's French-language literature and his ambivilant response to attacks on other intellectuals by armed Islamist opposition groups.
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