The first book fair in Damascus since 2011 took place just a few weeks ago. This is a sign of hope in a country where there used to be numerous private publishers, well-stocked bookshops and enthusiastic readers. Many publishers and bookshops succumbed to economic and political pressure and closed their doors. The fact that quality (secular) books continue to be printed and sold in Syria at all owes thanks to highly committed publishers such as Samar Haddad and Marwan Adwan who see this as an indispensable societal necessity. We will talk with them about the Syrian publishing scene, the whereabouts of the remaining Syrian publishers and book dealers and what books they are stocking. What are people reading in Syria today and how do people access reading materials? What effect has the Syrian civil war had on the publishing sector across the Arab world?
Klaus-Dieter Lehmann, president of the Goethe-Institut, Munich
Samar S. Haddad, publisher, Damascus/Beirut
Marwan Adwan, publisher, Damascus/Dubai
Moderation: Shoshana Liessmann, Literature and Translation Promotion, Goethe-Institut München