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Exploring the Tangier of author Paul Bowles and journalist Walter Harris
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Indulging in the magnificent blue of Chefchaouen
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Touring the Karaouine University Library
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Getting lost and found in Marrakesh’s medina
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Meeting artists and authors at the Al Maqan cultural hub

Shifting Boundaries: Literature of Morocco

Oct 27 - Nov 08, 2021

13 days | Morocco | Literary Adventures

What forces have shaped Morocco? This mountainous land at the meeting point of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean is a place of both boundaries and confluences — some organically arising, some created or imposed. For more than a millennium peoples from sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Europe have travelled or migrated to Morocco, long home to indigenous Imazighen or Berbers. How rigid or fluid are the spaces —physical, cultural, political, and moral —that join or separate them? What is the relationship between self and society?

On our journey through Morocco’s unforgettable cities and landscape, we’ll look at these questions through the lens of 20th- and 21st-century literature, focusing on the era of the French protectorate and the Tangier International Zone. We’ll read a mix of literature written in English and in translation from the Arabic or French, including Paul Bowles’ Let It Come Down, Driss Chraïbi’s explosive novel The Simple Past and contemporary stories and poetry.

We’ll start in the port of Tangier, on the Strait of Gibraltar. Tangier was known in the mid-20th century for being an International Zone administered by a committee foreign powers, including Britain, France and Spain. This special status drew writers, artists, political activists and spies to the city in a heady mix. We then make our way down the Atlantic coast to picturesque Chefchaouen, meaning “blue pearl.” The city was founded in the late 15th century by Muslim and Jewish refugees forced out of Europe by the Spanish Inquisition. Today, it’s a peaceful place to spend a couple of days relaxing. Our next destination is Fes. For centuries a centre of learning and scholarship, Fes is a must-visit for a Classical Pursuits trip. We’re especially excited to go to the medieval library established in 859 by Fatima al-Fihri and recently restored by Toronto architect Aziza Chaouni. We end in busy Marrakesh, the old imperial capital and home to beautiful examples of Islamic architecture and tilework. We’ll also take advantage of Marrakesh’s proximity to the Atlas Mountains to visit the artist village Al Maqam, set among fruit orchards.

Immerse yourself in the vast scope of Morocco’s history, politics, literature, art and food, Classical Pursuits-style.
Literary Adventures Cultural Explorations
Tour Cost (per person):
US$5495
Group Size:
12 - 16 participants

What’s included: Airport transfers; accommodation based on double occupancy; all land transportation by private coach with air conditioning; most meals; experienced local English-speaking guides; ll sightseeing and entrance fees; all taxes and gratuities; discussion sessions with your study leader; services of your tour manager

Itinerary at a Glance

DayActivity
1Meet in Tangier
2The Tangier of Walter Harris, Paul Bowles, and the Beats
3The Petit Socco and the sultan’s palace
4The Caves of Hercules and seaside Asilah
5Chechaouen’s blue medina
6Meknes and the vineyards
7he walled medina of Fes
8Hammams and souqs
9Rabat’s flower-filled Kasbah
10Marrakesh’s Majorelle Gardens and palaces
11A literary café and the mellah
12The Al Maqam artist’s residency
13Depart Marrakesh
Optional extension: Essaouira or the Sahara
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Your Tour Leader

Melanie Blake is a writer and editor who developed a deep interest in fiction from Asia during a three-year stint in India. She has canoed, kayaked, sailed, trekked and cycled down or along rivers ranging from the Hudson to the Dordogne to the Indus.

Email Us

Or call 1-800-387-1483 with any questions or to reserve your spot!

Literary Adventures Cultural Explorations
Tour Cost (per person):
US$5495
Group Size:
12 - 16 participants

What’s included: Airport transfers; accommodation based on double occupancy; all land transportation by private coach with air conditioning; most meals; experienced local English-speaking guides; ll sightseeing and entrance fees; all taxes and gratuities; discussion sessions with your study leader; services of your tour manager

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Shifting Boundaries: Literature of Morocco

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