Dossier: Arabic Literature

Yasmina Khadra (photo: Getty Images)

Interview with Yasmina Khadra

"The Algerian regime is pulling all the strings"

The renowned Algerian writer, Mohammed Moulessehoul, who goes by his pen name Yasmina Khadra, wanted to stand as an independent candidate for the presidency of Algeria. He funded his own campaign and criss-crossed the country seeking nomination. Unfortunately, he only managed to win the support of 43,000 people, 17,000 short of the minimum number needed to be able to contest the election. Regina Keil-Sagawe spoke to the author about his campaign and about the situation in AlgeriaMore

Sign and logo of the Hakawati bookshop in Amman (photo: Claudia Mende)

The Hakawati bookshop for children and young people in Amman

Huge appetite for exciting stories

Since opening ten years ago, the Hakawati bookshop in Amman has become an institution in the Jordanian capital. Nowhere else in the city offers such a wealth of books for children and young people. Claudia Mende took a look around this fascinating shopMore

Arabic calligraphy (photo: Fotolia/Ivan Montero)

The Arab world

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Arabic: the last tie that binds

In terms of politics, economics, religion and culture, the paths of the Arab states diverge. The once proclaimed unity between them has been consigned to the history books. Only one thing still binds them together: the Arabic language. By Kersten KnippMore

Ibrahim Nehme, editor-in-chief of "The Outpost" (photo: Ieva Saudargaite)gaite

The Lebanese magazine "The Outpost"

Road map to an uncensored world

The pan-Arab magazine "The Outpost" is produced on a quarterly basis in Beirut. Only one year after its establishment, it is already attracting international attention. Astrid Kaminski took a closer look at the magazine and spoke to its editor-in-chief, Ibrahim Nehme, about its successMore

Screenshot with the logo of the Syrian Writers Association

Syria's opposition writers

Fighting oppression and censorship

Syrian writers in exile have founded a new association. Their aim is to continue their country's rich literary tradition and to use the pen to fight for political and cultural change and freedom of speech in Syria. By Joseph CroitoruMore

Cover of the book "Contemporary Artists – Arab World" (source: Steidl-Verlag)

Book review: "Contemporary Artists – Arab World"

Perceptions of reality

The book "Contemporary Artists – Arab World" shows how different Arab artists have reacted to the upheaval in their countries. By Kersten KnippMore

Ounsi el-Hage (photo: AFP/Getty Images)

Obituary: Lebanese poet Ounsi el-Hage

One of the founders of Arab surrealism

Last month, the Lebanese poet Ounsi el-Hage died at the age of 77. Alongside Adonis and Mahmoud Darwish, he was one of the pioneers of modern Arabic poetry. An obituary by Suleman TaufiqMore

Empty aisles and stands at the Cairo International Book Fair 2014 (photo: Amira El Ahl)

Cairo International Book Fair 2014

Reader, where art thou?

Many Egyptians are avoiding this year's Cairo International Book Fair for fear of new outbreaks of violence or terrorist attacks. Publishers are complaining about intolerable conditions and a lack of planning. By Amira El Ahl in CairoMore

Raja Alem (photo: Unionsverlag)

Interview with Saudi Arabian writer Raja Alem

"When I write I am free, like flying in my dreams"

The Saudi writer Raja Alem is an outstanding voice in Arabic literature. Zurich's Unionsverlag has just published the German translation of her novel "The Doves' Necklace", which won the International Prize for Arabic Fiction in 2011. Ruth Reif spoke to Raja Alem about her work and influencesMore

Mahmud Darwish (photo: AP)

Recreating Palestine in Literature

A Nation Crafted From Words

"We have a country made of words", reads a famous poem by the Palestinian writer Mahmud Darwish. In his essay, the well-known Jordanian journalist and literary scholar Fakhri Saleh explores the effect that the loss of homeland has had on Palestinian literature and self-perceptionMore

Translations of Classical Islamic Literature

From the Emotional Orient to the Distortion of Islam

Why does classical Oriental poetry still sound so ornate to western ears? Blame the translations. These are still following the model of the eighteenth century, when the myth arose that Islamic poets were sentimental geniuses in the realm of emotion and romance. An essay by Stefan WeidnerMore

Safaa Abdelmenem (photo: Safaa Abdelmenem)

The Egyptian Author Safaa Abdelmenem

"The Characters in My Novels Talk in Dialect"

Her love for the characters in her novels is boundless. The characters themselves provide the direction that the creative process takes. This is why Safaa Abdelmenem wrote her novel "Euphoric" completely in Egyptian, the language of her protagonists. By Mohamed El-BaalyMore

The Algerian Writer Boualem Sansal (photo: dpa/picture-alliance)

Interview with the Algerian Writer Boualem Sansal

"Take Islam back from the Islamists!"

Are Europe's democracies too weak to curb Islamism? Controversial Algerian writer Boualem Sansal sounds a warning. The time for political debate has passed, he tells Aya BachMore

Habib Selmi (photo: Volker Kaminski)

Interview with Habib Selmi

"Tunisians Are Mature Enough"

The renowned Tunisian author and journalist Habib Selmi talks with Volker Kaminski about his most recent literary work and about the difficult situation of writers and artists in his homelandMore

The Algerian Novelist Yasmina Khadra (photo: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)

Interview with the Algerian Novelist Yasmina Khadra

"There Is a Life after Defeat"

Now based in France, the Algerian writer Yasmina Khadra is one of his country's most successful authors. The film The Attack, based on Yasmina Khadra's book of the same name, was honoured as Best International Literary Adaptation at this year's Frankfurt Book Fair. Regina Keil-Sagawe joined the novelist for an espressoMore

German Bookshop Lehnert & Landrock

The Dangerous Job of Selling Books in Cairo

Edouard Lambelet's well-known German bookshop is located close to Tahrir Square in Cairo. The bookseller has lived through many conflicts in Egypt, but for the first time, he's now considering throwing in the towel. Holger Heimann reportsMore

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