Dima Albitar Kalaji
Dima Albitar Kalaji, born in 1982 in Damascus, Syria, and living in exile in Berlin since 2013, has navigated a significant literary and journalistic path, underpinned by her education in Arts and Media at Damascus University. Her work highlights the intersection of art, politics, and culture, predominantly through the lens of her experiences in Syria and Germany.
Known for her poignant dialogue-rich prose, Kalaji often uses her words to illuminate complex sociopolitical landscapes. he has published numerous texts in various Syrian and international newspapers, including »APuZ« of the Federal Agency for Civic Education and »10 nach 8« on »Zeit Online«. As a co-founder of Radio SouriaLi, one of Syria’s leading radio stations post-2011, she demonstrated her commitment to free expression and media literacy.
In collaboration with »Deutschlandfunk Kultur«, Kalaji produced »Syrmania« a bilingual podcast. Another collaboration with »rbb Kultur« for the »WIR MACHEN DAS« action alliance led to the podcast »(W)Ortwechseln- Weiter Schreiben Briefe«. Since 2017, she has been active as a literary manager, curator, and Arabic texts editor on several projects, such as »Weiter Schreiben« and »Lebendiges Archiv – Umgang mit Diktatur«. She was also a co-editor and co-curator of the Audio anthology with Penguin publishing house for » Weiter Schreiben – (W)Ortwechseln« and a jury member of Literature projects for the year 2022 at the Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Gesellschaftlichen Zusammenhalt.
Her debut book, »Weniger als ein Kilometer« (tr: Less than One Kilometer), a 2022 letter exchange with Ramy Al-Asheq, published by Sukultur, further illustrates her engagement with diverse literary forms and her talent in leveraging correspondence as a stylistic and thematic device. Kalaji’s evocative portrayal of lived experiences creates an authentic narrative space that is reflective and explorative.
Her significant contributions as an author and journalist earned her the opportunity to work with renowned author Annett Gröschner on the topic of dictatorships for »Lebendiges Archiv – Vom Umgang mit Diktatur«. They are also editors of literary texts and the podcast »Geruch der Diktatur«.
»The engagement with dictatorial histories and their influence on human lives is the driving force behind the work. It’s about showing how dictatorships don’t leave us, even when we leave them«, Kalaji states, capturing her driving ethos.
The author lives in Berlin.