The Beggar and the Loaves of Bread
Mohamed Mrabet is one of Morocco's most famous storytellers. He rose to fame through his association with American writers in Tangier in the 1950s and 60s including Paul Bowles, William Burroughs and Tennessee Williams. He was born in Tangier in 1936. He left secondary school without being able to read or write. In 1956 he met an American couple, Russ and Anne-Marie Reeves, at the Café Central in Tangier. Mrabet worked for them as a barman and later accompanied them to New York. His relationship with the couple is semi-fictionalised in his autobiography, 'Look and Move On.' Mrabet returned to Tangier in 1960, and resumed life as a fisherman. Four years later he became friends with Jane and Paul Bowles, who was impressed by Mrabet's storytelling skills, and translated many of his oral tales. These were published in fourteen books, which have been translated into many languages. Mrabet is also an accomplished artist and his works have been exhibited in Europe and the United States. He has been recognized as an important member of a group of Moroccan painters who emerged in the post-Colonial period. Mohamed Mrabet lives in the Souani area of Tangier, with his wife, children and grandchildren.