It all started with a picture. James McBey's "Zohra," Tangier, 1952.
A report for an e-zine, a blog post, and the interviewer, journalist Abdelouahid Stitou (photo at right, with "Zohra"), was hooked.
He would write the first Facebook interactive novel, in Arabic: "ZohraLiza," inspired by "the Moroccan Mona Lisa."
As Stitou told us at a certain point in the story, the premise is that McBey's painting is stolen from the Legation (heaven forbid!) and is spirited away, to Brussels. There's a man, and a woman. The painting is recovered, and brought back to Tangier. But is it a copy? Where is the original "Zohra?"
The possibilities are limitless, especially if – and this is the interactive part – you allow online readers to suggest tangents to the plot line. Over the course of the Facebook phase (we assume this is an endless process), comments, criticism, press coverage – everything was fit to print in "ZohraLiza."
And now it is in print too. Congratulations to Tangier's own Abdelouahid Stitou for his imagination, his ingenuity in bringing a mid-Twentieth century oil painting to life in the Facebook age.