2020-09-18_Pierre Jarawan_© Marvin Ruppert
© Marvin Ruppert
Contemporary perspectives

Writing about Lebanon, what is happening now?

‘If you think you understand Lebanon, it’s because someone has not explained it to you properly.’ Notwithstanding this Lebanese saying, lauded author Pierre Jarawan attempts to help us analyse today’s Lebanon.

According to Pierre Jarawan, what happens in Lebanon now is nothing but the consequence of certain historical events and developments in politics and society, that have led to the present. These events can be analyzed and put into context. Writing about Lebanon adds a new dimension: the creation of both, the understanding of facts and sympathy for the Lebanese people who have endured them. While numbers go to the head, stories can go to the heart. That’s the power of literature. After his keynote, Jarawan is interviewed by Michiel Leezenberg.

This online event follows the State of European Literature, a joined initiative of the University of Amsterdam, Faculty of Humanities and the Amsterdam Center for European Studies (ACES) in collaboration with OSL (Onderzoeksschool Literatuurwetenschap) and SPUI25.

About the speakers

Pierre Jarawan is an author, stage writer, presenter and freelance photographer. He was born in Jordan, the son of a Lebanese father and a German mother, after his parents left Lebanon because of the civil war. He came to Germany at the age of three. In 2012 he became international German-speaking champion in the Poetry Slam. Today he is the presenter of the Isar Slam – Munich’s largest regular poetry slam. Jarawan received a literary scholarship from the City of Munich for The Storyteller. Today, translated into many languages, the novel is an international bestseller. His second novel A Song for the Missing will be published in spring 2020. (Dutch publisher: HarperCollins Holland).

Michiel Leezenberg is associate professor in Philosophy at the University of Amsterdam. He published, amongst other books, Islamitische filosofie: een geschiedenis (Bulaaq 2001; 2008), for which he received the Socrates wisselbeker, and De minaret van Bagdad: seks en politiek in de islam (Prometheus 2017).