Salim Barakat

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Salim Barakat
سليم بركات / Selîm Berekat
Salim Barakat.jpg
Born (1951-09-01) 1 September 1951 (age 71)
Qamishli, Syria
Occupationnovelist, poet
GenreMagical realism
Notable worksAl-Jundub al-Hadidi

Salim Barakat (Arabic: سليم بركات, Kurdish: Selîm Berekat) (born 1 September 1951 in Qamishli) is a Kurdish-Syrian novelist and poet. He was brought up in Qamishli in northern Syria and spent most of his youth there. In 1970 he moved to Damascus to study Arabic literature but after one year he moved to Beirut where he stayed until 1982. While in Beirut he published five volumes of poetry, a diary and two volumes of autobiography. He moved to Cyprus and worked as a managing editor of the prestigious Palestinian journal Al-Karmel, whose editor was Mahmoud Darwish. In 1999 he moved to Sweden, where he still resides.[1]

His works explore his own Kurdish culture and chronicle their plight and history,[2] as well as Arab, Assyrian, Armenian, Circassian and Yazidi culture.[1] His earliest major prose work, Al-Jundub al-Hadidi ("The Iron Grasshopper"), is an autobiographical narration of his childhood in Qamishli. The book explores the violent and raw conditions of his early adolescent life, suffused with nostalgic feelings for the Kurdish land and culture. The first part of the book's lengthy subtitle translates to, "The unfinished memoir of a child who never saw anything but a fugitive land."[3]

Barakat is considered one of the most innovative poets and novelists writing in the Arabic language.[2] Stefan G. Meyer has described his style as "the closest by any Arab writer's to that of Latin American magical realism" and has called Barakat "perhaps the master prose stylist writing in Arabic today". Due to his complex style and application of techniques taken from classical Arabic literature, his influence has been almost one of a "neoclassicist."[3]

Published works (in Arabic)[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Contributor's Profile - Salim Barakat". Banipal (UK). Retrieved Feb 10, 2011.
  2. ^ a b Nassar, Hala Khamis; Rahman, Najat (2008). Mahmoud Darwish, exile's poet: critical essays. Interlink Books. p. 342. ISBN 1-56656-664-9.
  3. ^ a b Meyer, Stefan G. (2001). The experimental Arabic novel: postcolonial literary modernism in the Levant. SUNY Press. pp. 87–88. ISBN 0-7914-4733-2.