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Khaled Khalifa

Yamam Al Shaar

Khaled Khalifa (b 1964, Syria) is a novelist, screenwriter and poet born in Aleppo and currently living in Damascus.

He is the author of five novels: his second was suppressed by the Union of Arab Writers for four years after its publication, and his third was officially banned by the Syrian government. Nevertheless, he is one of the few writers of his generation to have remained in Syria throughout the current conflict: “Everyone has left,” he recently told a literary festival audience in Italy, “but a few stubborn souls like me remain. We cling to each other.”

His novels In Praise of Hatred and No Knives in the Kitchens of this City both made the shortlist for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction, and the latter also received the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature. 

His most recent book, Death is Hard Work, appeared in English translation in 2019, and was recently nominated for the National Book Award. 

The most amazing thing about this book is that it managed to exist, that it came to us out of the fire with its pages intact.

Hisham Matar, The Guardian on Death is Hard Work

Astonishing… The power of the novel (...) is that it unfolds within a human context, which pushes against and resists the prevailing social one. What other option do we have?

David Ulin, Los Angeles Times on Death is Hard Work
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