Navid Kermani

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Navid Kermani
Born (1967-11-27) 27 November 1967 (age 48)
Siegen, West Germany
Occupation Novelist, essayist
Nationality German

Navid Kermani (Persian: نوید کرمانی‎‎; Persian pronunciation: [næviːd cɛrmɑniː]; born in Siegen, Germany, 27 November 1967), is a German writer and a scholar of Islam. He is the author of several novels as well as books and essays on Islam, the Middle East and Christian-Muslim dialogue.[1][2] He has won numerous prizes for his literary and academic work, including the Peace Prize of the German Booksellers' Association on 18 June 2015.[3]


Navid Kermani in Priština (2013)

Navid Kermani was born the fourth son of Iranian parents in Siegen, West Germany. He began his writing career at age 15 as a local reporter for the Westfälische Rundschau.[4] As a student he published in German national newspapers; from 1996 to 2000 he was a regular contributor to the feuilleton section of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. He studied philosophy, Oriental studies and drama in Cologne, Cairo and Bonn. His doctoral thesis has been published in English translation as God Is Beautiful: The Aesthetic Experience of the Quran.[5]

He regularly publishes articles, literary reviews and travelogues, especially in Süddeutsche Zeitung, Die Zeit, and Neue Zürcher Zeitung.

Kermani holds German and Iranian citizenship. He is married to the Islam scholar Katajun Amirpur and has two children. He lives in Cologne.


  • Offenbarung als Kommunikation: Das Konzept wahy in Nasr Hamid Abu Zaids Mafhum an-nass, Frankfurt et al. 1996 (Peter Lang).
  • Gott ist schön: Das ästhetische Erleben des Koran, Munich 1999: C. H. Beck.
  • Nasr Hamid Abu Zaid: Ein Leben mit dem Islam, Freiburg 1999: Herder.
  • Iran: Die Revolution der Kinder, Munich 2000: C. H. Beck.
  • Dynamit des Geistes: Martyrium, Islam und Nihilismus, Göttingen 2002: Wallstein.
  • Das Buch der von Neil Young Getöteten, Zurich 2002: Ammann: Cologne 2004: Kiepenheuer.
  • Schöner Neuer Orient: Berichte von Städten und Kriegen, Munich 2003: C. H. Beck; Munich 2007: dtv.
  • Toleranz: Drei Lesarten zu Lessings Märchen vom Ring im Jahre 2003 (with Angelika Overath and Robert Schindel), Göttingen 2003: Wallstein.
  • Vierzig Leben, Zurich 2004: Ammann.
  • Du Sollst, Zurich 2005: Ammann.
  • Der Schrecken Gottes Munich 2005: C. H. Beck.
  • Strategie der Eskalation: Der Nahe Osten und die Politik des Westens, Göttingen 2005: Wallstein.
  • Nach Europa, Zurich 2006: Ammann.
  • Ayda, Bär und Hase, Vienna 2006: Picus.
  • Mehdi Bazargan, Der Koran und die Christen, edited by Navid Kermani, Munich 2006: C. H. Beck.
  • Kurzmitteilung, Zurich 2007: Amman.
  • Wer ist Wir? Deutschland und seine Muslime, Munich 2009: C. H. Beck.
  • Ausnahmezustände: Reisen in eine beunruhigte Welt, Munich 2013: C. H. Beck.
  • Zwischen Koran und Kafka: West-östliche Erkundungen, Munich 2014: C. H. Beck.
  • Ungläubiges Staunen: Über das Christentum, Munich 2015: C. H. Beck.

In English translation[edit]

  • The Terror of God, Cambridge 2011: Polity.
  • God Is Beautiful: The Aesthetic Experience of the Quran, Cambridge 2014: Polity.
  • Between Quran and Kafka: West-Eastern Inquiries, Cambridge 2016: Polity.

Awards and distinctions[edit]

Hessian cultural award controversy[edit]

In 2009, the German state of Hesse decided to award its 45,000 euro Hessian Cultural Prize in July 2009 jointly to a Jew, a Muslim, a Catholic and a Lutheran to honour those involved in interfaith dialogue. There was controversy over Kermani's nomination as one of the three winners because of an essay in which Kermani had written about his feelings on seeing a painting of the crucifixion by the seventeenth-century Italian painter Guido Reni. The issue was ultimately resolved, and Cardinal Karl Lehmann, Peter Steinacker, Kermani, and Salomon Korn jointly received the prize on 26 November 2009.[13][14] Kermani donated his share of the award to a Christian priest.[15]


External links[edit]