Paul Bowles — A Time In Tangier

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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One Response to “Paul Bowles — A Time In Tangier”

  1. Pastorale says:

    […] Then join us at 11am or 7pm Pacif­ic time (19:00 or 03:00 in the UK) for the lat­est of our series of clas­sic inter­views with the movers and shak­ers, artists and musi­cians of the 1960s and 1970s, Zee­ber Gold, from ZBS. Tonight we air a fas­ci­nat­ing inter­view with Paul Bowles, the ex-pat author, com­pos­er and trans­la­tor, who spent much of his life in Moroc­co. See sep­a­rate entry for more details. […]

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