Holiday reads: Five best books set in Morocco

Oh yes… it’s that time of year where you can stock up on some new reading material in readiness to hit the sun lounger and lose yourself in another world. The summer holidays are the perfect chance for you to catch up on the latest fiction, a classic page-turner, a new biography or whatever floats your literary boat.

Just like your holiday destination, your summer read should transport you to another place – and our favourite books about Morocco do just that. Whether you’re heading to the gateway of Africa itself or staying closer to home, our list of the five best books set in Morocco are bound to inspire your wanderlust.

Person lying on a beach in Morocco reading a book

The Sheltering Sky
By Paul Bowles

If you’re travelling in Morocco, you are bound to see fellow travellers with their noses in this classic psychological drama. It tells the tale of an American husband and wife, accompanied by their friend, travelling through the cities and deserts of north Africa after World War II. The author, Paul Bowles, was an American expat who spent over 50 years living in Tangier. His other novels set in Morocco include Their Heads Are Green And Their Hands Are Blue, Come Down and The Spider’s House.

Desert in Morocco


Hideous Kinky
By Esther Freud
Disenchanted about the dreary conventions of English life in the 1960s, a young mother heads for a wild adventure through Morocco with her two young daughters. Living in a low-rent Marrakech hotel, the trio survive on the sale of hand-sewn dolls and money from the girls' father, still in London. The semi-autobiographical hit was adapted into a film with Kate Winslet. If you haven’t seen the film yet, you know the rule – read the book first!

Moroccan women in the souk in Marrakech


In Morocco
By Edith Wharton

At a time when there was no guidebook, author and American high society girl, Edith Wharton fearlessly journeyed to Morocco in the final days of the First World War. This is the enchanting account of her expedition. As she travelled, she recorded her encounters with Morocco’s people and their traditions. It’s a true snapshot of the country at a moment of transition from being a kingdom on the edge of the Sahara, virtually unknown to the outside, to becoming a popular tourist destination.

Man in traditional dress at home in Morocco

Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits
By Laila Lalami 
To modern Morocco now, where four Moroccans illegally cross the Strait of Gibraltar in an inflatable boat headed for Spain. We meet Murad, an unemployed man who has been reduced to hustling tourists around Tangier; Halima, who is fleeing her abusive husband and the slums of Casablanca; Aziz, who must leave behind his devoted wife in hope of securing work in Spain; and Faten, a student and religious fanatic. Brilliantly and sensitively written, this is a compelling book about what drives people to risk their lives in search of a brighter future.

Woman walking across the desert in Morocco

The Caliph’s House: A Year in Casablanca
By Tahir Shah
The acclaimed English travel writer brings us his hilarious and enthralling account of a year in the life of his family who gambled everything when they moved from London to Casablanca. We follow Tahir and his family on their travels throughout Morocco, from Tangier to Marrakech to the Sahara, as they discover a world of fascinating culture and contrast.

White mosque in Casablanca

Happy holidays!