Rasha Khayat

    is a German writer and translator. She grew up in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and now lives in Hamburg. She studied comparative literature, German and philosophy at Bonn University, and translates fiction and drama from English and Arabic into German. She is a representative of a new generation of German authors dubbed “Migrutanten”, a cohort of debuting authors with a migration background. Her first novel, Weil wir längst woanders sind (2016, Because We’re Elsewhere Now), about a brother and sister growing up between Germany and Saudi Arabia, was nominated for the Klaus Michael Kühne Award for the best first novel. In 2016 she was Writer in Residence at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK, and in 2017 she was awarded a literary residence at the OMI International Arts Center, Ledig House, New York. She is currently working on a new novel. Since 2010 Rasha Khayat has been blogging at West-Östliche Diva (A German window on Arabistan) where, in the run-up to the German election, she wrote: “AfD is going up in the Champions League. The latest opinion polls predict that the smartly suited Nazis will become the third largest faction in the Bundestag and I must admit that this thought makes me want to throw up. […] It’s too late to stop it now. It will happen, everyone will hold their breath on Sunday, and then, in the evening, will look aghast and say ‘we didn’t see this coming’, ‘the situation will have to be analysed’, ‘we need to figure out where we went wrong’, while also ‘acknowledging the team’s performance’. Just like in the Bundesliga. What we must all do now is come to terms with the idea that at least 12 per cent of the people in our rich, well-fed, prosperous, free country have no problem voting for a party whose actions are often anti-constitutional and which practises hate speech. And then we ought to seek every possible way of strengthening and supporting the other parties, our rule of law and each other, to make sure that we don’t slide further down the brown spiral. We should be engaged, not just within but, most and foremost, outside the limited world of computer screens or phone displays and on social media. We ought to try to pull our weight in the real world. Because, I would have thought, freedom is something worth fighting for.”
    Photo: Anna Maria Thiemann / Die Zeit