Middle East meets Europe. Translation Workshop: Arabic-German

Sandra Burkhardt

Sandra Burkhardt © Michael Wagener

Sandra Burkhardt (b. 1992 in Laupheim) studied Art History and Literary Writing in Karlsruhe and Leipzig and now lives in Berlin. In 2016 she was a prize-winner at the 14th Open Mike in Berlin and co-editor of the 2016 Tippgemeinschaft anthology. Her debut collection, Wer A sagt, was published by gutleut in Autumn 2018.


Wer A sagt bei gutleut 2018

Golan Haji

Golan Haji © Marti Albessa

Golan Haji (b. 1977 in Amouda, Syria) is a Syrian poet and translator with a post-graduate degree in Pathology. He studied medicine at the University of Damascus. He has worked as a translator of English and American literature, translating such books as Robert Louis Stevenson‘s Scottish classic The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde into Arabic.

His first Arabic collection of verse, Called in Darkness (2004), won the Al Maghut Prize for Poetry. His second volume someone sees the monster in you (2008) was published during the event “Damascus 2008 as Cultural Capital”. His subsequent collection, My Cold, Far-Distant Home, was published in Beirut.

He lived in Damascus until he was forced to flee his country and settled in France. Golan Haji is a regular contributor to the cultural press in Lebanon. He has taken part in many literary festivals in Syria and internationally.


Ein Baum, dessen Namen ich nicht kenne, A Midsummer Night's Press 2017

die Waage des Schadens, Al-motwaset Milan 2016

Bis der Krieg geschah. Frauen in der syrischen Revolution, Riad Al-Rayes Beirut 2016

Was die Isolation sagt, Friche Belle de Mai 2014

Herbst, hier, charmant und groß, Rome 2013

Ehebrecher, Koriedo Verlag, Copenhagen 2011

jemand sieht in dir das Monster, Damascus 2008

in der Dunkelheit 2004

Noor Kanj

Noor Kanj © Galal Alahmadi

Noor Kanj (b. 1990 in Suweida, Syria) studied IT and Economics. In 2014 she fled from Syria to Lebanon and from there to Germany with a fellowship from the Heinrich Böll Foundation. She publishes poetry in Arabic. She has taken part in the VERSschmuggel / reVERSible translation workshop organised by the Haus für Poesie and has guested at the international literature festival berlin (ilb), the Literaturfest München and the “globale° – festival for transnational literature” in Bremen. Kanj published her first texts in the anthologies Hier sein – weg sein (Secession Verlag) and Das Herz verlässt keinen Ort, an dem es hängt (Ullstein 2018).

Noor Kanj subsequently received many invitations to give readings and talks. In 2018 she was invited by the Goethe Institute of Canada to do a reading in Toronto. She lives in Düren.


Hier sein – weg sein, Anthologie, Secession Verlag 2016

Das Herz verlässt keinen Ort, an dem es hängt, Ullstein Verlag 2018

Sonja vom Brocke

Sonja vom Brocke © Ronald Dick

After studying Philosophy and Literature in Cologne, Hamburg and Paris, Sonja vom Brocke (b. 1980 in Hagen, Westphalia) moved in 2007 to Berlin, where she still lives. Her texts have appeared in magazines, anthologies and art publications. Her slim volume Ohne Tiere (Verlag H+K Berlin, 2010) was followed in 2015 by her collection Venice singt (kookbooks). Her latest publication, Düngerkind, appeared from Verlag Peter Engstler in late 2018. Together with the band Periode (Andreas Reihse and Thomas Winkler) she has set some of her poems to music. Texts by Sonja vom Brocke have been translated into Slovenian, English, Romanian and Dutch.


Ohne Tiere, Verlag Heckler und Koch, Berlin, 2010

Venice singt, kookbooks, Berlin 2015

Düngerkind, Verlag Peter Engstler, Ostheim/Rhön 2018

Günther Orth

After studying Islamic Studies, Geography and Sociology in Erlangen, Cairo, Damascus and Leipzig, Günther Orth (b. 1963 in Ansbach) worked at various German universities as a lecturer in Arabic and, from 1992, as a translator and interpreter for Arabic. After gaining his doctorate with a thesis on Modern Yemeni Literature in 1996, Günther Orth also worked as a lecturer in Translation Studies and German as a Foreign Language at the University of Sanaa in Yemen. He currently works as a conference and TV interpreter, literary translator and editor (for DW-TV Arabia).

Leila Chammaa

Leila Chamma © privat

Leila Chammaa (b. in Beirut, Lebanon) studied Islamic Studies, Arabic Studies and Political Science at the FU Berlin and earned a post-graduate certificate in teaching German as a Foreign Language at the HU Berlin. Since 1990 she has been translating Arabic literature into German, initially just prose but eventually also - with enthusiasm - poetry. She also works as a consultant and reviewer for publishers, institutions and festivals in the area of Arabic literature. She was a member of the International Literature Prize Jury from 2014-2016.