Episodes

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2013082620190710 (BBC7)
20190709 (BBC7)

During much of the first part of the twentieth century, Tangier was an International Zone, controlled not by Morocco but instead by a number of foreign powers. During that period - and for some years afterwards - it became a magnet to scores of writers and artists, many of whom were gay.

Paul Bowles arrived in the nineteen thirties, leading the way for some of the biggest names in literature of the time, including William Burroughs, Truman Capote, Andre Gide, Patricia Highsmith and Tennessee Williams.

In Tangier they enjoyed a much greater degree of freedom, whether that be to take drugs or simply to conduct homosexual relationships, than would have been possible in their home countries at the time.

The place also provided Professor Andrew Hussey with his first encounter with the Arab world, and set him on a course of exploration and intellectual discovery over the last thirty years, during which time he's been back many times.

Now he returns again to not only tell the story of 'Queer Tangier' as it became known, including the dark side of that period in the form of sex tourism, but also witness how the city has by now become a confident, bustling Moroccan city in its own right.

Producer: Geoff Bird.

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2013.

The provocative tale of one of the 20th century's great bohemian and literary capitals.

The provocative tale of one of the 20th century's great bohemian and literary capitals.