Dossier: German-Arab Literature Exchange

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

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

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

A reading in Cairo, Egypt (photo: Nael El Toukhy/DW)

Egyptian Literature

New Departures, New Visions

Current novels from Egypt tell about people's daily struggle for survival, about their suffering in the face of state violence and corruption, and about managing to get by with the help of tricks and humour. Egyptian literature is available in translation in various forms – from the spontaneous blog to the social novel. By Susanna SchandaMore

Khaled Alkhamissi (photo: Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images)

Interview with Egyptian Writer Khaled Alkhamissi

''We Are Living in a Vibrant Social Era in Egypt''

Best-selling author and journalist Khaled Alkhamissi is one of the sharpest observers of Egyptian society. In his novels Taxi and Noah's Ark he foretold the fall of the Mubarak regime. Bettina Kolb spoke to him about a revolution that is far from overMore

Rosa Yassin Hassan (photo: DW)

Interview with the Syrian Writer Rosa Yassin Hassan

Touched by Magic

Until a few months ago, Rosa Yassin Hassan was filing daily reports on the war in Syria in her blog, "Diary of the Syrian Revolution". Her accounts detailed both the suffering of civilians and the brutal acts committed by both the regime and the opposition. Persecuted by the regime, she fled to Germany in the autumn of 2012. Laura Overmeyer spoke to herMore

Alaa al-Aswany walks with anti-Mursi protesters as they chant anti-government slogans in Tahrir Square in Cairo November 27, 2012 (photo: Reuters)

The Writer Alaa al-Aswani

A Desperate Citizen of Egypt

"We will topple Mursi, just as we toppled Mubarak": A few years ago Alaa al-Aswani wrote what is arguably the most successful novel ever to be written in Arabic, now he is fighting for democracy in his homeland. By Tim NeshitovMore

Saud bin Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the foreign minister of Saudi Arabia (photo: Reuters)

Saudi Prize for Translations

Big Words, Big Prize-Money

In Berlin, Saudi emissaries have presented the world's largest prize for translation. But the show and the obsequious ritual that go with the prize seem to be more important than anything else: one previous winner has only received a fraction of the prize-money he was promised. According to Werner Bloch, it was a bizarre eventMore

Salwa Bakr (photo: Claudia Mende)

Profile of the Egyptian Writer Salwa Bakr

The Voice of the Marginalized

Salwa Bakr is an unassuming literary star. Not a natural self-promoter, the Egyptian writer is nevertheless one of her nation's best known authors at international level. She has written 18 books, many of which have gained international recognition and been translated into nine languages. By Claudia MendeMore

Alaa al-Aswani (photo: picture-alliance/dpa)

Egyptian Writer Alaa al-Aswani

Democracy Is the Solution!

The well-known Egyptian writer and activist Alaa al-Aswani praises the President for his decision to replace the country's two top military generals. But, he says, Mohammed Mursi must now prove that he is really serious about establishing democracy in EgyptMore

Charlotte Wiedemann (left) and Mansoura Ez-Eldin (photo: private copyright / Isolde Ohlbaum)

In Dialogue: Charlotte Wiedemann & Mansoura Ez-Eldin

Prospects for Women in the Arab Spring

As part of our new "Dialogue" series, the prominent German journalist Charlotte Wiedemann and the renowned Egyptian novelist Mansoura Ez-Eldin discuss social achievements and prospects for women in the Arab SpringMore

Salwa al-Neimi (photo: T. Langro)

Sexuality in Contemporary Arab Women's Literature

Of Personal Experience and Artistic Freedom

When Arab women write about sexual encounters, are they recounting their own personal experiences or are their descriptions born of their literary fantasy? And whatever the answer is, should one measure literature using a moral yardstick or should criticism focus on the content of the work alone? Rim Najmi asked a number of female Arab writers to share their thoughts on this matterMore

Youssef Ziedan (photo: Doris Poblekowski)

Youssef Ziedan's Novel ''Azazeel''

In Case of Doubt, Choose Doubt

Youssef Ziedan's "Azazeel" was awarded the renowned Arab Booker Prize in 2009. Our reviewer Andreas Pflitsch says that this historical novel is a plea against religiously motivated violenceMore

Günther Hasenkamp (photo: Goethe Institute Cairo)

The Cultural Scene in Egypt

Creative Artists Are the Motor for Change

Creative artists in Arab countries are playing a key role in the revolutionary process. But their efforts are being hampered by poor infrastructure. This is where international cultural work can help, says Günther Hasenkamp, Programme Director at the Goethe Institute in CairoMore

Demonstrator on Tahrir Square after Mubarak's ouster (photo: AP)

Literature and the Arab Spring

An Uprising of Words

What subversive role did literature play in the run-up to the uprisings in the Arab world? And should prose, poetry and other literary genres devote themselves entirely to the "revolution" or maintain a critical distance? Answers from Stephan MilichMore

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