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Recommended reading

Here is our hand-picked selection of fiction and non-fiction reading for you to prepare your trip or enjoy during your journey!


Try to buy the latest version of your guidebook - change is constant in Morocco and the information can date quickly.

Fodor’s Morocco - a comprehensive guide to all of Morocco aimed at the US market.

Time Out Marrakech - a great guidebook packed with historical and cultural facts and covering many of the areas around Marrakech such as Essaouira and the desert.

Marrakech Select (Insight Select Guide) - a guide to the very best of Marrakech, full of insider knowledge.

Lonely Planet Morocco - this perennial favourite is well-researched and good for basic information on every destination.

Morocco: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette (Culture Shock! Morocco) - this gives a good guide to potential minefield of cultural etiquette in Morocco.

Best of Essaouira e-guide - available from the Maroc-o-phile website.


For Bread Alone, Mohammed Choukri - translated by Paul Bowles and initially banned in Choukri’s native Morocco, this short novel broke several taboos when it was first published in 1973. It is autobiographical and tells of a family forced from the Rif Mountains to downtown Tangiers by famine and the lengths that the young Mohammed has to go to in order to survive on its mean streets.

The Caliph’s House, Tahir Shah - when writer Shah takes on an old pile in Casablanca, fading mosaics, grumpy caretakers and house jinn (evil spirit) are included in the sale. This is his funny and sensitive account of living among Moroccans and renovating his house. In Arabian Nights is also set in Morocco and tells of Shah’s quest for his story. Along the way he learns many of the traditional fables and tales of the Arab world.

A House in Fez, Susannah Clarke - there are many tales of woe and wonder written by westerners who have chosen to renovate Moroccan medina townhouses and riads. Susannah Clarke’s is set in Fez and gives a deep insight - not only into the renovation traumas, but also into the genuine relationships she formed with her medina neighbours.

The Last Storytellers: Tales from the Heart of Morocco, Richard Hamilton - For nearly a thousand years, storytellers have gathered in Marrakech’s Jmaa el Fna square to tell folktales and legends. Hamilton aims to preserve this oral tradition in the face of modern media and distractions.

Lords of the Atlas, Gavin Maxwell - an epic account of pre-independence Morocco and the rise and fall of the Glaoui dynasty; warlords turned tools of the French Protectorate who were then reviled following independence.

In Morocco, Edith Wharton - although clearly very dated as a travel guide (it was written in 1920), Wharton’s accounts of her travels are lively and remarkable, given that she travelled as a woman in the final throes of WWI.

Morocco That Was, Walter Harris - well-travelled and settling in Tangiers in his 20s at the end of the 19th century, contemporary reviews of this book claimed ‘Harris knew Morocco like no other Englishman.’

The Mountains Look on Marrakech, Hamish Brown - a great companion for trekkers and climbers, telling the story of an expedition from one end of the Atlas (Taza near the Mediterranean) to the other (Tamri, on the Atlantic) over 900 miles and 96 days.

A Year in Marrakesh, Peter Mayne - before the fad for riad renovations and townhouse B&Bs, Peter Mayne (not to be confused with Peter Mayle who spent his year in Provence) moved to the Marrakech medina and sought to live like a local.


The Exile, Abdullah Laroui - a leading Moroccan philosopher and political critic, Laroui published The Exile, set in Azemmour on the northern Atlantic Coast in the 1970s. It traces a sleepy town, teetering - like Morocco at that time - between tradition and modernity.

The Game of Forgetting, Mohammed Berrada - this novel by one of Morocco’s most acclaimed modern writers charts the change in psyche and fortunes of its main character, Hadi, which reflect those of Morocco itself as the country shakes off French Colonial rule and gains independence.

Hideous Kinky, Esther Freud - perhaps better known as the film starring Kate Winslet, the story follows a young British mother and her two young daughters on a voyage of self-discovery on a well-worn hippie trail in 1960s Morocco.

Leaving Tangier, Tahar Ben Jelloun - Tangier has all the feel of a frontier town in this novel set in the 1990s when young Moroccans believed the streets of Europe were paved with gold and would risk lives and livelihoods to get across the Straits of Gibraltar. Several of this prolific Moroccan author’s works are now available in English.

Marrakech The Red City, Barnaby Rogerson & Stephen Lavington - this compilation observes, critiques and dissects Marrakech from every angle. It is a compilation of over 30 short stories and extracts of longer works by some of the best known writers on Morocco.

Shadows of Marrakech, Philip Brebner - Marrakech riad owner draws heavily on his own experience in this whodunit set in the labyrinthine streets of the Marrakech medina.

The Sheltering Sky, Paul Bowles - Bowles famously spent much of his life in Tangiers and this modern classic deals with a subject matter as current today as back in the late 40s when he wrote it. His story deals with a sophisticated American couple seeking to flee the modern world and find themselves in colonial North Africa. The Spider’s House and many of his short stories are also set in Morocco.

Children’s books

Red Moon and High Summer, Herbert J. Kaufmann - a great read for teenagers, this is set in the desert among Touareg tribes.

Tales from the Arabian Nights (Children’s Classics), Andrew Lang - the classic 1001 nights tales of Sheherazade in child-friendly format, including Aladdin and Sinbad the Sailor.

When the Robbers came to Cardamom Town, Thorbjorn Egner - A Norwegian children’s classic now available in English, Cardamom Town is said to be based on Essaouira, on Morocco’s Atlantic Coast.