Taia has defied Moroccan society's don't-ask, don't-tell attitude toward homosexuality — and prison sentences that are still on the books in the North African kingdom — to write five autobiographical novels about growing up poor and gay in the northern coastal city of Sale.
The novels, peppered with sexually explicit passages, have catapulted him to fame in his native country and made him the de-facto poster child of its budding gay rights movement.
His work has sparked harsh criticism. Taia said some outraged critics have called on him to renounce Moroccan citizenship so as "not to bring shame" on the country.
It's also alienated him from his parents and eight siblings, who figure extensively in the books and complain that Taia has publicly humiliated them.
His latest novel, "L'armee du Salut," or "Salvation Army," focuses on his decision to move to Europe. An English translation recently came out in the United States, with an introduction by author Edmund White.
Like nearly all Arab countries, Morocco considers homosexual relations a crime, punishable by fines and prison sentences of six months to three years.
Such penalties are rarely applied, though, and in practice, Morocco has a long history of leniency toward homosexuality and other practices forbidden by Islam.
Asked whether he sees himself as courageous, Taia said, "The most difficult thing was to work up the courage to pick up the pen and write for the first time."
That was where Taia began to write. Surrounded at Rabat University by children of Morocco's French-speaking elite, he began to keep a diary to improve his written French.
His journals now serve as the foundation of his novels, which are written in French and have been translated into seven languages, including Arabic and now English.