JULY 9 EVENT: Arabic Literature in Berlin

1-2 p.m. EST * 6-7 p.m. BST * 7-8 p.m. CEST

This panel shines a spotlight on Berlin as a centre of Arabic-language literary production. Prose writer Haytham El-Wardany, playwright Liwaa Yazji, and Arabic-German translator Sandra Hetzl will reflect on the recent upsurge of Arabic writing taking place in the city and discuss themes and styles that emerge in this body of work, and the inspiration they find for their own practice.

We will discuss the infrastructure that supports this creativity, and ask whether Berlin is doing enough to support its non-German writers. We’ll also examine some of the challenges of being an Arab writer in Berlin. Panelists will read short extracts from recent work they’ve written in or about Berlin. Moderated by Katharine Halls.

This panel is in association with Khan Aljanub, Berlin’s leading Arabic bookshop. We’re pleased to announce that attendees will receive a special discount from Khan Aljanub.


There is no need to register.

You can simply show up at the YouTube page to join. However, if you would like a reminder, you can get one via this Facebook event page or EventBrite.


Katharine Halls
(katharinehalls.com) is an Arabic-to-English translator from Cardiff, Wales. She was awarded a 2021 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant to translate Haytham El-Wardany’s short story collection Things That Can’t Be Fixed. Her translation, with Adam Talib, of Raja Alem’s novel The Dove’s Necklace received the 2017 Sheikh Hamad Award and was shortlisted for the Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize. Her translations for the stage have been performed at the Royal Court and the Edinburgh Festival. She lives in Berlin.


Liwaa Yazji is a filmmaker, playwright, scriptwriter and poet. Her play Goats was performed at The Royal Court Theatre and published in English in 2017. Her play Q&Q was a part of the Birth Debate Project in Manchester, along with Waiting for the Guests, which was published in Index for Censorship. Yazji was also awarded the prestigious Berlin Senate stipend for non-German literature for her upcoming project Trash.


Writer Haytham El-Wardany was born in Giza, Egypt, and has lived in Berlin for twenty years. His first short story collection The Unfinished Literature Club received the 2003 Sawiris Award, and Waking Dream won the Cairo International Book Fair’s 2012 prize for best short story collection (both in Arabic). His experimental prose work The Book of Sleep (Seagull Books) appeared in English last year. He recently received a prestigious Berlin Senate stipend for non-German literature.


Sandra Hetzl is a literary translator, researcher, writer and project curator with a focus on contemporary Arabic literature. She has translated short stories, poems and non fiction by Rasha Abbas, Kadhem Khanjar, Aref Hamza, Bushra al-Maktari, Aboud Saeed, Assaf Alassaf and Raif Badawi. She has translated over twenty theatre plays, including by Mohammad Al Attar, Maya Zbib, Zoukak Theatre Company, Wael Kadour, Hoda Barakat and Mudar Al Haggi. She is the founder of the of the 10/11 collective for contemporary Arabic literature and the mini literature festival Downtown Spandau Medina. She lives in Berlin. http://www.sandrahetzl.com