International Berlin Literature Festival

International Berlin Literature Festival 2013
4th - 15th September 2013

Over ten days the Berlin International Literature Festival presents contemporary authors from all over the world – and among them a number of Arab authors. Click here for all news (in English) on the Festival website. Below are details of events featuring Arab authors – film and discussion, prose and poetry readings and talks.


SPECIALS – FILM

05.09.13

10.30pm HAUS DER BERLINER FESTSPIELE (Upper Foyer)

Hala Mohammad’s (Syria) Film »Journey into Memory«

Discussion after the film with film director Hala Mohammad

Hala Mohammad made a documentary on political prisoners in Syria. After a casting, where she saw about 500 prisoners, the Syrian poet and filmmaker chose three actual dissidents who exchange stories of beatings, physical and mental degradation. As all three are writers and intellectuals; they articulate their thoughts painfully well in an otherwise banal setting.

Syria, 2006, 45 min., R: Hala Mohammad, Syrian Arabic with English subtitles

 

LITERATURES OF THE WORLD

06.09.13

7.30pm HAUS DER BERLINER FESTSPIELE (Side Stage)

Poetry Night II

with Hala Mohammad (Syria), Sergio Raimondi (Argentina) and Tzveta Sofronieva (Bulgaria/Germany) and Ashur Etwebi (Libya)

Presenter: Silke Behl, Speaker: Marina Galic

Ashur Etwebi, born 1952 in Tripoli, is one of the most famous Libyan writers. His poetry is both intimate and impressive, innovative but traditional, influenced by Modernist poetry, yet informal and accessible.

The Syrian poet Hala Mohammad belongs to a generation of modern Arab poets who express their individual experiences as women and intellectuals in the Arab world. Her poems seem spontaneous and reflect first-hand impressions.

The Argentinean Sergio Raimondi repeatedly chooses Bahía Blanca, his home town, as a starting point, but the explorations in his poems go beyond the borders of Argentina and South America.

Tzveta Sofronieva has lived in many parts of the world and currently lives in Berlin, where she works as a freelance author, writing in Bulgarian, German and English.

 

REFLECTIONS

10.09.13

7.30pm HEINRICH BÖLL FOUNDATION

»Writing Revolution« Literary Writing from the Arab Revolutions.

With Safa Al Ahmad (Saudi Arabia), Yasmine El Rashidi (Egypt), Mohamed Mesrati (Libya), and Nemonie Craven Roderick (GB)

Presenter: Layla Al-Zubaidi

The Anthology »Writing Revolution: The Voices from Tunis to Damascus« is a compilation of poetic reports from people who participated in the profound changes that are shaking the Arab world. Between past, present and future these voices have become a part of an on-going process which is at once hopeful, and tragic. The book was honored in 2013 with the British PEN Prize for outstanding works in translation.

This event will be held in English and will be simultaneously interpreted into German.

Admission free

 

LITERATURES OF THE WORLD

10.09.13

9.00pm HAUS DER BERLINER FESTSPIELE (Upper Foyer)

Samuel Shimon (Iraq / GB) Reads from his New Novel »Sankhiro’s Adventures«

Presenter: Daniel Medin, Speaker: Jörg Petzold

In his latest novel »Sankhiro’s Adventures«, set in the late 1970s during the Lebanese civil war, Samuel Shimon narrates the story of a young Assyrian Iraqi whom fate leads to join the Palestinian revolution in Beirut. Here his adventures reveal untold stories of death, corruption, love and sex.

 

LITERATURES OF THE WORLD

11.09.13

6.00pm HAUS DER BERLINER FESTSPIELE (Side Stage)

Margaret Obank (GB) and Samuel Shimon (Iraq / GB) on Arab literature in the West: The journals »Banipal« and »Kikah«

Presenter: Daniel Medin

Since 9/11 it has become clear that in the West there is only a very rudimentary knowledge of the Arab world - particularly in the USA, where less than 3 per cent of all books are translations from other languages. More than three years before 9/11, at the beginning of 1998, the journal, “Banipal”, and later the London-based online journal, “Kikah”, began to attempt to remedy this problem. Editors, Margaret Obank and Samuel Shimon, have now launched a project to reverse the trend: “Kikah” publishes translations of international literary works into Arabic. Its first edition has just been published.

 

LITERATURE BEHIND BARS

12.09.13

6.00pm TEGEL PRISON

Khalid al-Khamissi (Egypt): Reading and Conversation with prisoners at Tegel Prison

Presenter: Aurelie Winker

Non-Public Event

 

LITERATURES OF THE WORLD

12.09.13

7.00pm COLLEGIUM HUNGARICUM BERLIN

A View of Iraq: Fadhil Al-Azzawi and Hussain Al-Mozany (both Iraq / GER) present their novels

Presenter: Larissa Bender, Speaker: Friedhelm Ptok

The Berlin-based Iraqi authors Hussain Al-Mozany and Fadhil Al-Azzawi present their literary work. They look at Iraq from a distance and debate the recent history of the country. Their stories tell of destruction and inner conflicts, of ideology and despotism.

 

REFLECTIONS

12.09.13

9.00pm COLLEGIUM HUNGARICUM BERLIN

The Future Prospects of the Middle East. With Fadhil Al-Azzawi and Hussain Al-Mozany (Iraq / GER)

Presenter: Larissa Bender

What is the status of democracy and human rights ten years after the American occupation of Iraq? What follows the fall of the military dictatorship? How can Germany and the Western world react towards the Arab world in times of great change? The Berlin-based Iraqi authors Hussain Al-Mozany and Fadhil Al-Azzawi dedicate themselves to these issues as part of a political-cultural assessment of the current situation in Iraq and other countries in the Middle East.


LITERATURES OF THE WORLD

13.09.13

6.00pm HAUS DER BERLINER FESTSPIELE (Upper Foyer)

Khalid al-Khamissi (Egypt): Escape from Egypt

Presenter: Aurelie Winker, Speaker: Sven Philipp

The author Khalid al-Khamissi, known for his best-selling homage to the taxi drivers of Cairo, has written a new novel, »Noah's Ark«, in which he tells us of Egyptian emigrants. With virtuosity, he interweaves the fates of various people who have left the country, or who want to leave, and portrays a society in which corruption, political repression, and religious and ethnic discrimination are commonplace.


LITERATURES OF THE WORLD

13.09.13

7.30pm HAUS DER BERLINER FESTSPIELE (Upper Foyer)

Saud Alsanousi (Kuwait) and Habib Selmi (Tunisia / France) Talk about their new novels

Presenter: Larissa Bender, Speaker: Matthias Scherwenikas

Saud Alsanousi won this year’s International Prize for Arabic Fiction, the most prestigious literary prize in the Arab World, with his novel »The Bamboo Stalk«. The protagonist – the illegitimate son of a Filipino Maid – is in search of recognition by his Kuwaiti father’s family; he is like a rootless stalk of bamboo. Saud Alsanousi’s story alludes to the problems of foreign guest-workers in Arabic countries.

In his latest novel »The Women of al-Bassatîn« (»Nissa'u al-Bassateen«) Habib Selmi deals with a divided Tunisia, caught between the appeal of Europe and the preservation of traditional values. Through the eyes of his protagonist, who lives the life of an immigrant, who exists between two cultures, Selmi takes an outside look at Tunisian society and the changing significance of religion in people's lives

 

LITERATURES OF THE WORLD

14.09.13

6.00pm
COLLEGIUM HUNGARICUM BERLIN

Habib Selmi (Tunisia / France) takes a look at religion in Tunisian society

Presenter: Larissa Bender, Speaker: Jörg Petzold

Taufik, who has been living in Paris for many years, visits his home Tunisia. In Habib Selmi’s novel »Die Frauen von al-Bassatîn« (tr: The Women of al-Bassatîn) Taufik notices changes in Tunisian society, a new religiousness, as well as a suspicion towards the immigrants who seek happiness in Europe.

 

 


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