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Elias Khoury
Reading "Gates of the City"
Admission: 4 Euro, concessions 2,50 Euro
Intifada, Islam, Jewish culture, emigration, flight, history
Elias Khoury, born in 1948 in Beirut, is considered one of the Arab world's most important contemporary authors and critics of political and social life in the Middle East. Once an active freedom fighter, he is a central figure in Beirut's intellectual scene and received the Palestine Prize for his novel "Gates of the City", which was published in 1998 and translated into Hebrew shortly thereafter. This novel thematizes the Palestinain exodus in unique fashion, telling of the lives of Palestinian refugees in the Lebanese camps with complexly interwoven plot strands. This book has met with great interest in both Palestinian-Arab and Israeli circles. Gates of the City by no means an indictment, it is "a relevant, highly political book which does without polemics and testifies to unsparing self-examination and self-criticism". (Leila Chammaa)
For his reading Elias Khoury has chosen a passage from the novel in which an old Palestinian woman travels to her old village, which is on Israeli territory. She meets the woman who now lives in the house which she was forced to leave. But the Israeli woman is a refugee herself, forced out of Beirut at the age of twelve due to the Lebanese civil war. Both women meet, astonished, in their sorrow for a lost homeland.

After the reading Elias Khoury will speak with the Egyptian film director Yousry Nasrallah, who is presently filming "Gates of the City".

Elias Khoury, born in 1948 in Beirut, has edited the culture section of the Beirut daily "An-Nahar" since 1992. His works published in English translation are: "Gates of the City" (1993), "The Journey of Little Gandhi" (1994), and "The Kingdom of Strangers" (1996).

Yousry Nasrallah, born in 1952 in Cairo, studied at the Cairo Film Institute. He spent four years in Lebanon, where, among other things, he worked as a journalist, production assistant for Volker Schlöndorff and assistant director for Youssef Chahine.

Moderator: Friederike Pannewick, Lecturer at the Institute for Arab Studies at the FU Berlin.

Languages: English and German with simultaneous translation

Contact: Johannes Odenthal