6 Arab-German Authors from a Growing Scene


It’s German literature month over at the Global Literature in Libraries Initiative. 

Arab-German literature in German doesn’t have the broad, 19th- and early-20th-century roots of Arab-American or Arab-French literatures. But it is a vibrant and growing space, surely to grow much more in the coming decades:

autoren From Mohamed Esa’s website.

Certainly, there were individual Arab texts written in German in the 19th century. There was Emily Ruete (Sayyida Salme)’s Memoiren einer arabischen Prinzessin, published in 1886. But for the most part, according to Iman O. Khalil and Jeannette Iocca, Arab-German literature has its roots in the 1970s and 1980s.

In the Federal Republic of Germany, Khalil and Iocca point to pioneers Jusuf Naoum, Suleman Taufiq, and the best-known among them, Rafik Schami. All three writers began to attract attention in the 1980s, with a literature that was then called “Gastarbeiterliteratur,” or Guest-Worker Literature, according to Khalil and Iocca.

In the former GDR, meanwhile, the Syrian poet…

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