Najem Wali

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Najem Wali (2015)

Najem Wali ( Arabic نجم والي, DMG Naǧm Wālī ; * October 20, 1956 in Basra ) is an Iraqi writer living in Germany.


Najem Wali's parents had been married childless for five years and the marriage was therefore severely endangered under Islamic law before he was born. He first studied German literature at the University of Baghdad . After completing his studies in 1978, Wali was drafted into the military for a year and a half. On September 22nd, 1980, the outbreak of the Iraq-Iran war , Wali's class was called up again for military service, whereupon he forged his military book and deserted to West Germany. Here he studied German at the University of Hamburg . After successfully completing his studies, Najem Wali moved to Madrid in 1987 to study Spanish literature. In 1990 he returned to Hamburg.

Najem Wali wrote his novel A Place Called Kumait - The Story of Circumcision as early as 1989. It was first published in Cairo in 1997 in Arabic, a year later in French and in 2002 in Swedish. The book breaks a taboo by calling circumcision torture. It therefore took eight years to find an Arab publisher to print the novel.

Today Najem Wali lives in Berlin and, in addition to his work as an author, also works as a journalist and correspondent for the Arab daily Al Hayat . He also writes for various German newspapers such as the Süddeutsche Zeitung and Die Zeit . He is a member of the PEN Center Germany .

In 2018, his novel Sara's Hour , set in London and Saudi Arabia, was published.




Research literature

Web links

Commons : Najem Wali  - collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. Najem Wali in an interview with Deutschlandfunk in the program Zwischenentöne on March 6, 2016
  2. Why is torture in the name of God? , Humanistic Press Service, Interview with Najem Wali, Aug. 3, 2012
  3. Fall of Man. In: March 12, 2018. Retrieved July 26, 2018 .
  4. ^ Prose text by the author (excerpt), in English. Language, transl. from the Arab. by Marilyn Booth
  5. ^ Bruno Kreisky Prize for the Political Book 2014 to Najem Wali for "Bagdad Marlboro" , press release of the Karl Renner Institute, December 29, 2014
  6. Najem Wali July - September 2019 - artist residency Chretzeturm. Retrieved July 9, 2019 .