24th ilb
5 – 14 Sep 2024 Program
9 – 18 Sep 2024 Young Program


Since 2011 there has been a civil war between the Syrian government, oppositional groups and ISIS. The latter one plays a special part in this. While the government and the opposition are fighting about who is in charge in Syria, ISIS wants to disestablish Syria as a country and to conquer own regions to govern. Additionally, the Syrian government is supported by the Russian government, while the opposition receives support from the USA, which in turn affects the political situation over the rest of the world. Each of the parties participating in the Syrian war commits war crimes as well as crimes against human rights; villages and regions inhabited by civilians, for example, have been completely destroyed. In 2016 alone, at the time of writing, 17.000 civilians have been killed. About 5 million Syrians have fled the country, which means that Syria is now the country with the most refugees worldwide.

Participating author: Khaled Khalifa

Khaled Khalifa was born in Aleppo, Syria in 1964 and currently lives in Damascus. He studied Law at the University of Aleppo and was the co-founder and co-editor of the literary magazine “Alif”, a critical forum for experimental writing. In the early 1980s, he was a member of the “Literary Forum” of the University of Aleppo, which produced several important poets. In the late 1980s, he moved away from poetry and started to write novels. His debut novel is titled “Haris al-khadi’a” (1993, Engl.: The Guard of Deception). Three other novels have followed, “Dafatir al-Qurbat” (2000, Engl.: “The Gypsies’ Notebooks”), “Madih al-karahiya” (“In Praise of Hatred”) and “La sakakin fi matabikh hadhihi al-madina” (“No Knives in this City’s Kitchens”).  “In Praise of Hatred”, which took thirteen years to write, was a finalist for the 2008 International Prize for Arabic Fiction, and “No Knives in this City’s Kitchens” was both shortlisted for the 2014 International Prize for Arabic Fiction and was the winner of the Niguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature. He has also written several scripts for films and TV shows, which were realized by renowned Syrian directors.

A more detailled biography can be found here.