Home / news / It happened in memory … the Tunisian poet and storyteller, Wedad Reda El Habib, and poetry as an eraser of pain and failure

It happened in memory … the Tunisian poet and storyteller, Wedad Reda El Habib, and poetry as an eraser of pain and failure

In this corner, Al-Jazeera Net opens a space for female writers and writers to talk about the event or accident that changed their lives, and made them poets, novelists or storytellers, as well as dramatists, translators or even publishers, contrary to the expectations of family or friends.

At the same time, this angle is considered a window for the reader and the follower, to get acquainted with an intimate and perhaps secret part of different creative people in ways and styles of thinking, life and writing.

Our guest today is the Tunisian poet and storyteller, Wedad Reda El-Habib, who was born in the city of Beni Khallad in the Tunisian state of Nile in 1982, and received her education in her schools, before obtaining the “Professor of French Language and Literature” from the University of Tunis. She is currently preparing her MA in Philosophy at the Higher Institute for Human Sciences in Tunis.

It is true that Wadad was somewhat late in publishing her collections, but she has not stopped publishing and writing since the publication of her first story collection “Female Gossip” in 2017, which previously won the second prize in 2016 in the Egyptian “Youssef Zidan” Short Story Competition.

In 2017, Wedad released her first collection of poetry, “I am the Lover”. In the following year, her second collection of poetry, “Khayal Al-Mirrors,” was published, after which she returned to the short story by publishing her story collection “The Last Sisyphus” in 2019. This year witnessed the publication of two collections of her poetry: the first was entitled “As a Legend in the Book of Fna”, and the second was published a few days ago. “Shahih like Wedad”.

Before publishing her collections of stories and poetry, Wedad chaired the “Culture and Arts” association in her hometown of Bani Khallad between 2016 and 2018. She is currently working as a senior professor above the rank in Tunisian schools.

Here is her testimony about the questions that Al Jazeera Net asked her.

Prince indifference

These questions mean for me to go back to the beginnings, to those first moments in which I made myself a mihrab of the seduction of language, a mihrab that encompasses the universe, ignites meaning, and listens to the confusion of my questions leaning on the shoulder of the wandering.

Those moments that were born from the womb of pain, from the cry of silence, from the fading of meaning and the departure of the horizon. How difficult is it to talk about someone who has never left, but we ignored him and put on “Prince” indifference, only to find him in front of us loud with his murderous pride and our confused silence.

Before going into the experience of writing, in an official and public capacity, I was like a child who deserted his mother’s bosom and ran without a map, without a compass, among the alleys of a lonely deserted city.

This publication included vertical and prose poems on topics including spinning, social and national life (Al-Jazeera)

The event that changed my life

One event that changed my life threw me into the bosom of language and the worlds of writing between story and poetry. An event that was a fateful decision at a defining moment with which my life turned, and the train of my life traveled with him towards a new life. I discovered its joy, its gardens and the pleasure of its harvest with every new dawn, with every new letter, and with every whisper I write or touch my tired feelings.

It happened about 5 years ago when I put an end to my married life. I left the institution of marriage behind and moved on.

In those trying days and bitter months, my only refuge was pen and white paper. I stumble upon her my sins, my stolen dreams and my stolen wishes. I did not allow tears, words of despair, or emptiness to inhabit my already tired garden. I watered and Ruddy the nectar of the character.

An illusion of failure

So suddenly, and with all sincerity, I started writing, and I never expected, nor did I plan, to be who I am today: the writer Wadad Reda the beloved. Today I stand in front of the Wall of Days, reading what I have achieved from 6 publications, from translation of my writings, from published in the Arab and European countries, America, Britain and others, and from honoring in Tunisia, Algeria and Lebanon .. I stand and I have nothing but silence before the strangeness of the world and the steps of days. How can it take us in the moment of collapse to the peaks of true successes? Today I stand contemplating how success is born from the illusion of what is called “failure”, how a person is born from the womb of mental death.

Yes, I made writing my sanctuary and my refuge. And from it, the journey was to write my destiny with my own hands and to rise again, but I learned how to make writing meaning, purpose, and cause. How do I tame my emotions and my rebellious pen as a source for the real issues that have plagued me, and are still pressing our Arab reality.

I will not say that writing was out of thin air, since I was fond of reading, cultural programs, historical, political, social, and even economic files on television since I was young. I was passionate about long conversations about politics and religion, and neither my curiosity nor my questions had any side.

French literature

I went to a literary major, after obtaining my baccalaureate in experimental sciences, where I obtained a professorship in French language and literature to discover the splendor of difference, the cross-fertilization of civilizations, the depth of the human being and the aesthetic of French literature and its revolutionary thought at the literary, political and intellectual level. I fell in love with theater with John Paul Sartre and Racine, and I lived in the collections of Charles Baudelaire and Rambo, and learned about the ideas of Montesquieu, Voltaire and others, as I had stood with the philosophers of the Enlightenment. I was not satisfied with that. After years of teaching, I returned to the university’s runways to gain a wealth of philosophy. Today, I am in the process of completing my master’s thesis in the philosophy of modernity and enlightenment. All of this contributed to refining my knowledge, going far in raising the issues that I hope to defend, and providing an addition, even if only a little.

The Fifth Collection of Poetry of Wadad Al Habib (The Island)

Sufi poetry

Despite my French specialty, I wrote in Arabic, where my civilization and cultural dimension is, where I belong, and where I can address those who have my pen whispering.

It was my first writing in Sufi poetry, and I truly lived a profound mystical experience that influenced, and continues to influence, me and my writings. Which he summed up by saying that religion is love, love and peace for all beings, even plants and inanimate objects, and that our relationship with the Creator is love, containment and stillness.


At the same time, I started writing the short story, and I was publishing what I wrote on my “Facebook” page, so the well-known Tunisian writer and critic Omar Saidi discovered me, and with him it was the beginning. A few months later, my collection of stories “Gossip Femme” was published for me, and the releases consisted of poetry and short stories.

My love for poetry came from my love for life. It is a life. Poetry alone makes my life meaningful. With him and in his niche I create and bloom. In the niche of poetry, I saw my garden smiling again. Flowers returned to her, and she was once again visited by butterflies of hope and dreams of spring.

My love for poetry began with Al-Mutanabbi and the rhyme poets, searching through the folds of words and whispering meaning. Today, most of my writings are from poetry between the vertical poems and the prose poem, because for me poetry is the lamp of revelation from which it illuminates, delights and excites all my sentiments. You take me to a place where there are no limits or restrictions, only to where the feeling dwells in you and the human being appears in you with all his holiness.

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