Syrian, Kurdish Writers Awarded Year-long Writing Grants in Berlin

For the first time, Die Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa has given year-long grants to Berlin-based writers working outside the German language. The six winning authors were announced February 6, and two of them were from Syria:

The six were chosen from among 260 eligible applicants, and they are set to receive a scholarship of € 24,000 to spend a year working on their writing.

The two Syrians are Kurdish poet-translator Abdulkadir Musa and Arabophone poet-playwright Liwaa Yazji.

Abdulkadir Musa, born 1969 in Kurdish northern Syria, studied French Language and Literature in Aleppo. It was 1995 when he moved to Magdeburg, Germany, where he studied and later worked as a translator and social worker. He writes poetry and prose, and also works as a translator. His collection Your Wings Have Taught Me Flying was published in Kurdish and translated into German, Spanish, French and Polish.

Liwaa Yazji is a Syrian playwright, filmmaker, and poet, born in Moscow and raised in Damascus. She has published a volume of poetry In Peace, We Leave Home and was resident poet at Poets House New York in 2015. Her Three Poems was published in English. Yazji also took part in the Royal Court Theatre workshops in 2013-15 where she began the work on Goats, a play staged in London to some acclaim.

This year’s jury was made up of Pieke Biermann, Eva Bonné, Odile Kennel, Dr. Günther Orth, Frank Sievers, Adina Stern, and Andreas Tretner.

The other four winners were: Amanda DeMarco, Rebecca Rukeyser, Dmitry Vachedin, and Erica Zingano.