Interview with longlisted author Abdullatif Ould Abdullah


When did you begin writing The Eye of Hammurabi and where did the inspiration for it come from?

I began writing The Eye of Hammurabi at the beginning of Summer 2018. The main idea in my mind was the theme of boundaries and mines, which are one of the forms of ugliness and selfishness towards others. These boundaries exist first of all in people’s minds, because most of us imagine them before seeing them in physical reality. Whether these boundaries are between Algeria and Morocco, or America and Mexico, or even the Berlin Wall, they have not yet disappeared, but in fact they continue to take shape in the minds of human beings and develop with the pace of technology, so that they are now even stronger than before.


Did the novel take long to write and where were you when you finished it?

I wrote it in about one and a half months. The revision took a long while and was done at different times. However, the main manuscript was written in about forty days. As with all my novels, I wrote it at my house where I live with my wife and daughter. Sitting on a hard chair which creaks at the least movement, under a weak light and at a table I bought in a junk shop. As for the computer which has witnessed the birth of all my novels, I sold it a few days ago and I am very sad about that.   


How have readers and critics received it?

No-one has received or read it apart from those who know me and are close to me, through social media, and they are no more than five readers.


What is your next literary project after this novel?

I have a variety of projects. At the moment, I’ve stopped writing because of the difficult world economic situation. Before anything else, the writer is a human being. However, I will continue working on a novel which I began writing a few months before The Eye of Hammurabi was published.