Khaled Khalifa (Arabic: خالد خليفة) is a Syrian novelist, screenwriter and poet, born 1964 in Aleppo. His 2006 novel In Praise of Hatred (Madih al-Karahiya) has attracted worldwide media attention. It was a finalist for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction, and has been banned in Syria. "In Praise of Hatred" has been published in French (Sindbad, Actes Sud, May 2011), Italian (Bompiani, May 2011), Dutch (De Geus, June 2011), Norwegian (Minuskel, October 2011) and Spanish (Lumen, 2012). Rights to this book have also been sold to Transworld (English, to appear).
He attended the University of Aleppo, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in law. He wrote poetry and was a member of the Literary Forum there. As a screenwriter, Khalifa has written several television dramas including Rainbow (Kaws Kozah) and Memoirs of Al-Jalali (Serat Al-Jalali), documentaries, short films, and the feature-length film The Shrine Door (Bab al-Maqam). His first novel, The Guard of Deception (Haris al-Khadi'a), was published in 1993. His second novel, The Gypsy Notebooks (Dafatir al-Qurbat), was suppressed by the Union of Arab Writers for four years after its publication in 2000.
Khalifa spent thirteen years working on In Praise of Hatred, his third novel, which is about how the lives of one family are affected by the battle between the Syrian government and the Muslim Brotherhood. It was published in Damascus until the ban, when it was republished in Beirut. Khalifa says these sort of book bans come from a bureaucracy which does not represent the higher levels of government, and he favors negotiation between artists and Syrian authorities to facilitate freedom of speech.
As of 2009, he is working on a fourth novel, Parallel Life (Hayat Muwaziya).
His work is not intended to advocate any political ideology. Discussing In Praise of Hatred, he said "above all, I wrote this novel in defense of the Syrian people and in order to protest against the suffering they have endured as a result of the religious and political dogmas that have tried to negate their ten-thousand-year civilisation."
- His name is also sometimes written Khalid Khalifa.
- "Guest of the ilb 2009". International Literature Festival Berlin. Retrieved 23 November 2009.
- Worth, Robert F. (12 April 2008). "A Bloody Era of Syria’s History Informs a Writer’s Banned Novel". New York Times. Retrieved 23 November 2009.
- Perry, Tom (3 July 2007). "Syrian author clashes with censors, urges liberty". Reuters. Retrieved 23 November 2009.
- Schanda, Susanne (31 July 2009). "Syriens ungeliebte Söhne" [Syria's unloved son]. Neue Zürcher Zeitung (in German) (Zürich). Retrieved 23 November 2009.
- "In Praise of Hatred, Khaled Khalifa". RAYA Agency for Arabic literature. Retrieved 15 May 2011.
- Obank, Margaret, ed. (Spring 2008). "Feature on Syrian literature". Banipal (London) (31). Retrieved 23 November 2009.
- Mahmoud, Sayed (6 March 2008). "Towards the abyss?". Al-Ahram Weekly (Cairo). Retrieved 23 November 2009.
- Asser, Martin (9 December 2008). "Life on the edge for Syrian artists". BBC News. Retrieved 23 November 2009.
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