Paul Bowles — A Time In Tangier

in Weekly Programme, Zeeber Gold

by Elrik Merlin on Wednesday, 3 April, 2013

Today in our series of classic interviews with the movers and shakers of the 60s and 70s, Zeeber Gold, we’ll take a walk and a talk with Paul Bowles (1910–1999), author and composer, in and around his home in Tangier.

Bowles was an American expatriate who lived in Morocco for over half a century. He was the inspiration for the ZBS radio serial Moon Over Morocco. A good deal of that serial was based upon what he talks about here. He speaks of the Sahara Desert, the Moroccan non‐logic, the types of magic – also his experiences with Gertrude Stein and the American expatriate Paris scene of the 20s and 30s. The interview was recorded in Bowles’ apartment and in the streets of Tangier, as well as walking among the hills above the city.

Following a cultured middle‐class upbringing in New York City, during which he displayed a talent for music and writing, Bowles pursued his education at the University of Virginia before making various trips to Paris in the 1930s. He studied music with Aaron Copland, and in New York wrote music for various theatrical productions, as well as other compositions. He achieved critical and popular success with the publication in 1949 of his first novel The Sheltering Sky, set in what was known as French North Africa, which he had visited in 1931.
In 1947 Bowles settled in Tangier, Morocco, and his wife Jane Bowles followed in 1948.

Except for winters spent in Sri Lanka (then known as Ceylon) during the early 1950s, Tangier was his home for the next fifty‐two years, the remainder of his life.

Recorded 1967.

Today’s programme is presented by Elrik Merlin. You can listen to the programme at, or simply click here to start your player, if your browser is configured to do so. Listeners in the United States are encouraged to tune in using this link:


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