Messengers between the worlds, bridge builder, wordsmiths - translators and translations have become key concepts of our globalized age: they mediate between linguistic and political systems and they are the glue smoothing out the cracks of our global communication.
Where the heavily cited metaphor threatens to degenerate into a slogan, the discussion evenings “Polyglotteries 1 + 2” aim to sharpen the field anew. While Polyglotteries 1 explores the transfer of texts and knowledge over time, Polyglotteries 2 takes into consideration translations between different political and religious systems. Both reading and discussion evenings take place in the context of the current price year of the “International Award for Literature – Haus der Kulturen der Welt” – an award drawing attention to other languages and international contemporary literary works and especially focusing on the valuable work between languages, on translations.
Reading: Mohammed Hanif, Jérôme Ferrari, Leila Chammaa
Moderation: Claudia Kramatschek,
Mohammed Hanif’s “Our Lady of Alice Bhatti” and Jérôme Ferraris’s “Où j’ai laissé mon âme” deal with confrontations and mediations between different political and moral systems: On the one hand, a Christian protagonist in Pakistan, who is struggling with bigotry, patriarchal structures and despotism. On the other hand, the fate of three men in the Algerian war, who scratch the boundaries between political and moral systems raising questions of faith, guilt and justice. The subsequent discussion with Leila Chammaa, translator from Arabic, and Claudia Kramatschek, literary critic and Pakistan expert, focuses on the translatability between political and moral systems.
Leila Chammaa (born in 1965 in Beirut) is a translator from Arabic and founder of the Alif agency mediating Arabic literature in German-speaking countries. She studied Islamic studies, Arabic studies and Political Science at the Free University of Berlin, and added further studies in German as a foreign language at the Humboldt University Berlin. Since 1990, Leila Chammaa has been translating Arabic literature into German, initially only prose, but for several years also with growing enthusiasm for poetry. Her translations include works by the following authors: Abbas Beydoun (Lebanon), Qassim Haddad (Bahrain), Sahar Khalifa (Palestine) and Elias Khoury (Lebanon). For the translation “Yalo” by Elias Khoury (Suhrkamp 2011), she was nominated for the shortlist of the “International Award for Literature”.
Jérôme Ferrari (born in 1968 in Paris) is a philosophy teacher. He has been teaching for four years at the International School in Algiers; since 2007 he has been living and working on Corsica. “Où j’ai laissé mon âme” is his fourth novel that was awarded the following prizes: Grand Prix Poncetton SGDL (2010); Prix Roman france Télévisions (2010).
Mohammed Hanif (born in 1965 in Okra, Pakistan) is an author and journalist based in London and Karachi. Mohammed Hanif was a pilot of the Pakistan Air Force before embarking on a career as a journalist. In the 1990s he moved to London. There he directed the program of the BBC Urdu, and wrote for The Guardian and The New York Times. He graduated from the prestigious Creative Writing Program at the University of East Anglia. In fall 2008, Mohammed Hanif returned to Pakistan where he works as a correspondent for the BBC. His debut novel “A Case of Exploding Mangos”, a satire on the mysterious plane crash of the dictator Zia-ul-Haq on 17 August 1988, was nominated for the Booker Prize shortly after its release. In 2009, he won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Corine - International Book Award.
Claudia Kramatschek (born in 1966) is a literary critic and cultural journalist in Berlin. Since 1997 she has been working as an independent literary critic, feature writer, curator and journalist. She writes for public broadcasters (including Deutschlandradio Kultur/ Deutschlandfunk, WDR, SWR), the Neue Zürcher Zeitung and the Islam Portal quantara.de, focusing on Indian subcontinent/ Maghreb. She moderates regularly for the LCB, the Literaturwerkstatt Berlin and the Frankfurt and Leipzig Book Fairs.