23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023

Dalia Taha

Dalia Taha was born in Berlin in 1986, but grew up in Ramallah (West Bank). She studied architecture at the Birzeit University in Ramallah. She began writing very early with the active support of her parents. For years she was an editor of the magazine »Yaraat« which was dedicated to the young poets and authors of Palestine. She now writes regular contributions for literary journals in the West Bank, in which she publishes poetry and articles that deal mostly with the concepts of space in colonial conditions.

In her first novel »’Arrafu I-Sawad« (2007, tr.: Seers Of Blackness) she straddles the boundaries of literary genres and speaks in a dark poetic voice, unearthing the inner life of nameless characters whose identities  are increasingly fragmented in a world of occupation and menace. Narrative perspectives shift, the real world diminishes and slips from the reader’s grasp; dialogues,juxtaposed without any narrative intercession, are interspersed with passages of lyrical beauty and reflective meditative precision.

Above all it is Tahas poetry that distinguishes her work. Her poetry has been published in many anthologies and journals and a collection appeared under the title of the first poem, »Shurfa wa-la ahad« (2009, tr: A Balcony With No One There). The poems speak of love, indifference, death and separation  in a fine, metaphor-rich voice. She claims not to follow any political agenda in  her work, seeking instead to establish new relationships between things. Dalia works on the one hand with carefully composed material in which she contrasts finely-balanced fragments of observation with moments of surprise: »I climb out of our photograph / in which we sit in front of the far horizon, which does not / fade, to mislead us on our way to us / I run / to myself / and away from myself, next / to a garden wall / I run, and inside me / the blossoms fall, which / grew on your grave« (from: Shurfa wa-la ahad). What is more, she often places uncommented fragments into sequences, creating staccato rhythms that are further heightened by the occasional use of a one-word line.

Next year Dalia is to gain practical experience in the field of civil society, following which she plans to do a doctorate in post-colonial theory in the United States. The author currently lives in Ramallah on the West Bank.

© international literature festival berlin


Arrafu l-Sawadk.
Ogarit Verlag
Ramallah, 2007

Shurfa wa-la ahad
Dar Azminah
Ramallah, 2009