"Falling, fleeing, failing": Palestinian writer Adania Shibli is new Friedrich Dürrenmatt Visiting Professor
The Palestinian writer Adania Shibli will teach as the 16th "Friedrich Dürrenmatt Visiting Professor of World Literature" at the University of Bern in the autumn semester of 2021. In her weekly seminar, she poses the question of how new perspectives emerge from falling, fleeing and failing.
Adania Shibli was born in Palestine in 1974. Her first novel, Misās (2002, English Touch), was awarded the Young Writers Award - Palestine, as was her second, Kullunā Baʿīd bi-Ḏāt al-Miqdār ʿan al-Ḥubb (2004, English We are All Equally Far from Love). In addition to her novels, which have been translated from the original Arabic into several languages, Shibli has written essays and short stories, as well as a play entitled The Error (2005), which was performed in London and San Francisco. Her latest novel, Tafṣīl Ṯānawī (2017, English Minor Detail), is about the memory of the rape and murder of a Palestinian woman by Israeli soldiers. The work was nominated for the International Booker Prize.
Adania Shibli says she does not write about Palestine. However, her writing is informed by her homeland and by her experiences there. Her novels are set in Palestine, they tell of everyday life in a country that is always in the political news. The plots are based on historical events. Through her young protagonists, Adania Shibli demonstrates what it means to come to terms with Palestine's history, to find one's way in its present, and at the same time to overcome the challenges of growing up.
In her weekly course "Failing, Falling, Fleeing", Adania Shibli examines three motifs with the students as starting points for literary creation, literally and metaphorically: falling, fleeing and failing. In doing so, she deals with authors whose literature was created in captivity, in exile or under psychological duress: for example, Ágota Kristóf, Sylvia Plath and Robert Walser. In falling, fleeing and failing, Adania Shibli sees artistic possibilities to break with the familiar and perceive the world from new perspectives.
The public launch event with Adania Shibli will take place on 13 October 2021 at 6.30 pm in the Hallersaal of the Burgerbibliothek in Bern.