Kattan, Naim

Naim Kattan, writer, literary critic (b at Baghdad, Iraq 26 Aug 1928). Kattan studied law at the University of Baghdad before studying literature at the Sorbonne. His fictionalized memories of these years appeared as Adieu, Babylone (1975) and Les Fruits arrachés (1977). He immigrated to Canada in 1954 and in 1984 became head of the writing and publishing division of the Canada Council. Kattan has contributed to magazines and newspapers in the Near East, Europe and North America, and has written several books, distinguishing himself in the genres of essay, novel, short story and theatre.

In Le Réel et le théâtral (1970), a collection of essays that won the Prix France-Canada (1971), Kattan pondered the elements that over the ages have differentiated and distinguished cultures and civilizations, the relationship of oriental and occidental man with nature, other men and the beyond. He continued this reflection in La Mémoire et la promesse (1978), Le Désir et le pouvoir (1983) and Le Repos et l'oubli (1987). In addition, Kattan has long been interested in Canadian, American and Latin American writers. His 3-vol Écrivains des Amériques (1972, 1976 and 1980) has helped to make these writers better known in Canada.