Tuesday, November 11, 2014

William Burroughs and the Beat Generation - Tangier Conference

From 17-19 November, Tangier will host an international academic conference exploring the Beat Generation with a special focus on William S. Burroughs in his centenary year 

Burroughs made Tangier his home in the early 1950s and wrote most of his most iconic novel Naked Lunch in two hotels in the city the Hotel Muniria and Hotel Rembrandt. He also gathered influence from his visits to the village of Joujouka/Jajouka in the Ahl Srif Mountains where he was introduced to a cast of musicians by Brion Gysin and the Moroccan painter Mohamed Hamri.

Oliver Harris with Iain Finlayson author of
Tangier: City of the Dream, Tangier late 1980s.

The conference is organised by the European Beat Studies Network whose president is Oliver Harris, Professor of American Literature at Keele University in the UK.

Academics, musicians and scholars from around the world will be at Hotel Chellah in Tangier from Monday to Wednesday and many friends of William Burroughs will be in Tangier to offer their thoughts, reminiscences and academic research in his honour.

Eric Anderson, a musician whose songs have been sung by Bob Dylan will also perform on Tuesday at 17.30. Admission is free.

In advance of the conference a separate event will take place in the village of Joujouka in the Ahl Srif Mountains near Ksar El Kebir. The Master Musicians of Joujouka were a huge influence on Burroughs and feature in his 1962 novel The Ticket that Exploded.

Oliver Harris with William S. Burroughs at his house in Lawrence, Kansas, November 23, 1984. Photo by James Grauerholz.

The Master Musicians host a special night Boujeloud for Burroughs 100 which will be attended by many of the conference goers. Burroughs famously called the Master Musicians a “4000 year old rock’roll band”.

These events highlight the key role that Morocco played for members of the literary Beat Generation and its central role in the one of the 20th century’s most important literary movements.

The Master Musicians of Joujouka, Boujeloud, who features in Burroughs fiction, photo by Robert Hampson

Further Reading:

An interview with Oliver Harris on his work with Burroughs and his research in Tangier can be found on the Official William S. Burroughs website 

The full conference program is on the link HERE

The Master Musicians of Joujouka summer festival is taking place 5-7 June 2015 and is booking now on their web site www.joujouka.org

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pema said...

Beats -- Burroughs -- anyone mentioning drugs? Or are their airbrushed out of the picture?

The View From Fez said...

LOL - Everyone!

Anonymous said...

The conference covers all aspects of Burroughs and the Beats, sexuality, music, drugs, art, life, intelligence services, freedom, weirdness and a few other things see the program linked above .
Best Hassan Ibn Sabbah