Queer(ing) freedom: rewriting coming-out narratives in contemporary Maghrebian literary production

By Gibson Ncube

This article analyses how contemporary writers of Maghrebian descent make use of autofiction to make visible queer desires and sexualities which exist in a perpetual state of marginalization. Using autofiction, a genre of literary expression which has been popular in the Francophone world in the past two decades, writers like Abdellah Taïa, Rachid O., and Nina Bouraoui complicate the idea of coming out. Although it might appear as though they are reproducing Western ideals of coming out as sine qua non to a fortification of a queer identity, they offer a different nuancing of what disclosing one’s sexual identity in the Maghreb means and entails. In their coming-out literary narratives, these writers articulate a practice of freedom which liberates the queer body from both Western modes of considering queerness and Maghrebian logics that marginalize and render invisible queer lived experiences.