Fouad EL-Auwad

Portrait Fouad EL-Auwad
© privat

Fouad EL-Auwad was born in Damascus in 1965 and has lived in Germany since 1986. Alongside his activities as poet, mystic, storyteller and translator, he studied Architecture in Aachen, where he also graduated. Poetry and music have always been intertwined for EL-Auwad. In 1987 he founded the group »Kan yama Kan, es war einmal« (tr: Once upon a time), which combined Arabic music with oriental storytelling. In 1994 he set up the musical project »Al Maya«, which arose from the convergence of western and oriental instruments, dedicated to experimental and oriental jazz.

His first collection of poetry, »Gesicht der Nacht« (tr: The Face of the Night), was published in 1991 under the name »Fouad Awad«. He published two further volumes under the same name in 1994, »Am achten Tag« (tr: On the Eighth Day) and »Der Namenshändler« (tr: The Name Trader). The author has used his full name »Fouad EL-Auwad« since 2000, and has published several collections of poetry under this name, including »Mit den Buchstaben unterwegs« (2003, tr: On the Road with Letters), »Das elfte Gebot« (2004, tr: The Eleventh Commandment), and »Baum des Regens« (2006, tr: Rain Tree). In the introduction to »The Eleventh Commandment«, the Syrian writer Fuad Rifka praises the »impressive inner wealth« that shines through in EL-Auwad’s poetry and hazards a guess at the »sources« of this wealth he has identified: the status of »universal themes […] which affect all people on this earth«, »the spontaneity« with which these are presented, and the »distance to the traditionally Arabic forms of recital«.

»The Arabic Poem«, according to Rifka, »is at heart a recital, that is, the value of the poem is judged by the nature of the recital, the voice, the gestures […]«; EL-Auwad’s poetry, however,  »is a poetry of silence […]. It hears (the language of nature) and enters into a dialogue with it« EL-Auwad’s longing for dialogue between different languages and cultures led in 2004 to the founding of the »German-Arabic Poetry Salon«, whose first event was held at the Literature House in Munich in September 2005. The poets Reiner Kunze and Fuad Rifka were guests of honour. In the following year the Salon took place in Damascus, at the behest of the Goethe Institute and the Ministry for Culture. Alongside his literary and musical work, EL-Auwad is also active as a translator and editor: worthy of mention here are, among others, the German-Arabic Poetry Salon’s anthologies »Stein der Oase« (2005, tr: Stone of the Oasis) and »Garten der Illusion« (2006, tr: Garden of Illusions. Since 2002 he has occasionally broadcast on Bavarian Radio (BR) as a writer and narrator of stories for children. In the same year he was nominated as an Assistant Professor of architecture at the FH Neubrandenburg. Fouad EL-Auwad lives and works in Munich.

© international literature festival berlin