Kurdish literature

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Some books in Kurdish

The Kurdish literature is not as well developed as the other literature of the region ( Turkish literature , Persian literature ). The vast majority of the Kurdish stories were and are passed down orally. Most of the written literature consisted of poetry until the beginning of the 20th century . Due to political and social developments, the proportion of prose increased. Kurdish literature was subject to restrictions and bans in its homeland for decades in the 20th century. When the Kurds emigrated to Europe, they developed a literature in exile that was not insignificant for developments in their home countries.


Well-known and widespread stories are the songs and epics of Memê Alan and Siyamend u Xecê . These stories were narrated by bards ( Dengbêj ) and storytellers (Çirokbêj). The earliest known Kurdish poets were Elî Herîrî , Melayê Cezîrî , Feqiyê Teyran , Ehmedê Xanî and Melayê Batê. These poets lived between the 11th and 18th centuries and wrote in Kurmanji . The literary center of the Kurds at that time was the Principality of Botan with the capital Cizre . In addition to Cizre, the cities of Sulaimaniyya and Sanandaj were other important literary centers. In Sulaimaniyya, the capital of the Principality of Baban , Sorani developed into a literary language and is now the official language in Iraq , while Iraqi Kurmanji is not as well developed. Another important literary language is the Gorani . Although it is not Kurdish, it is also counted as Kurdish literature. The Principality of Ardalan with Sanandaj was the patron of the Gorani . Gorani literature declined in importance over time. Because of its proximity to Iran, this literature was even more influenced by the Persian style than Kurmanji.

With the end of the Ottoman Empire , the Kurdish settlement area was divided between several states ( Turkey , Iraq , Iran and Syria ). From then on, Kurdish literature developed differently in the individual parts of Kurdistan . No common literature and standard language could arise due to the different dialects spoken there and the use of different alphabets. Kurdish literature could, however, be continuously promoted in exile under limited financial conditions.

Due to the favorable development conditions for language and culture in Iraq, Kurdish literature could be promoted very much there. Many Kurdish intellectuals had to flee to Iraq after the establishment of the Turkish Republic and the new Turkish politics. These included Refîk Hilmî, Tewfîk Wehbî, Pîremêrd and M. Emîn Zekî. Gelawêj magazine was created here in 1939 . This enabled the foundations of modern Kurdish prose to be further developed. The leading names around Gelawêj were Alladdin Seccadi, Ibrahim Ahmed , and Aakir Fattah. Kurdish literature and language can now be studied at the universities of South Kurdistan.

The Kurdish writers living in the Armenian Soviet Republic published the newspaper Riya Teze in the Latin alphabet in 1930 . Other inscriptions include the books by Emînê Evdal, Erebê Şemo and Hecîyê Cindî. Kurdish literature reached its peak in the 1960s with names like Fêrîkê Ûsiv, Emerîkê Serdar, Wezîrê Eşo, Sîma Semend, Tosnê Reşîd, Ahmedê Hepo and Ezîzê Îsko.

The situation in Turkey, where most of the Kurds live, has been characterized by prohibitions and restrictions for decades. Kurdish writers could therefore only write in Kurdish abroad. But with Turkey's rapprochement with the EU, the situation has visibly eased. Even so, Kurdish literature is not as developed as that in Iraq.

A volume of stories by Helîm Yûsiv "Der schwangere Mann", Mehmed Uzun's novel "In the shadow of lost love" and a volume of poetry by Sherko Bekas " Picking secrets of the night" are available in German translation .

Among the writers of Kurdish origin there are some who have become known with their prose, but do not write in Kurdish, but in Turkish, Arabic or Persian such as B. Muhittin Zengane , Mahmud Taymur , Salim Barakat (Arabic), Nezir Bülbül (German), Ali Eşref Derwişan , Mansur Yakutî (Persian), Yaşar Kemal and Bekir Yildiz (Turkish).

Exile literature

In exile, Kurdish literature shapes the living conditions of the Kurdish writers who have accompanied them since they fled their homeland. The Kurdish scriptures work largely in isolation. There are hardly any suitable translations of her works, which means that there is no critical response from readers who speak other languages. They are therefore mainly dependent on the readership of their exile countries, also Kurdish emigrants . The exiled authors are mostly persecuted in their homeland. Therefore her works written in Kurdish are forbidden.

The exiled authors include:

Well-known writers



  • Nalî (1798–1873)
  • Hacî Qadir Koî (1817–1897)
  • Şêx Reza Talebanî (1835–1910)
  • Wefayi (1844-1902)
  • Abdulrahman Scherfkandi Hejar, writer and poet from Scherfkand Mahabad
  • Muhammad-Amin Schexulislami (Hämn), poet and writer in exile Iraqi Kurdistan from Schillanaweh Mahabad.
  • Mamosta Qasm Mueidzade, poet philosopher and writer
  • Nader Ghazi (Xale Qazi), poet from Mahabad
  • Xalid Hissami (Hedi), poet and writer
  • Qader Lutfiani, poet from Mahabad
  • Ahmed Ghazi, writer
  • Muhammad Ghazi, writer
  • Marim Ghazi, writer
  • Abdulrahman Ghazi, poet and writer
  • Seif Ghazi, poet Mahabad


  • Perîşan Dînewerî (c. 1395)
  • Mustefa Bêsaranî (1642–1701)
  • Muhemmed Kendulaî (17th century)
  • Khana Qubadi (Xana Qubadî) (1700–1759)
  • Muhemmed Zengene Xemnakî Kerkûkî (18th century)
  • Mîrza Şafî Dînewerî (18th century)
  • Şeyda Hewramî (1784-1852)
  • Ehmed Beg Kumsî (1796–1889)
  • Mastura Ardalan (Mestûrey Erdelan) (1805-1848)
  • Mawlawi Tawagozi (Mewlewî Tawegozî) (1806–1882)
  • Muhammad Welî Kirmanşahî (ca.1901)

20th century

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. KURDISH WRITTEN LITERATURE - Encyclopaedia Iranica. Retrieved August 19, 2020 .
  2. Old Kurdish Newspapers . saradistribution.com