Book Club International Online Book Club - Meet the Author

Book Cover: 'Betrachtungen einer Barbarin' (Hoffmann und Campe Verlag) © Goethe-Institut London

Tue, 22.06.2021


"Betrachtungen einer Barbarin" by Asal Dardan

For the tenth meeting of our international online book club, we've invited the author Asal Dardan to read and discuss her book of essays Betrachtungen einer Barbarin with us. The book has been shortlisted for the German Non-Fiction Prize (Deutscher Sachbuchpreis) 2021.

The event will be hosted by Maha El Hissy (Queen Mary University of London) and Christiana Lahusen (Goethe-Institut Sweden).

THE BOOK: "Betrachtungen einer Barbarin" ("Reflections of a Barbarian")

Asal Dardan grew up in Germany as the child of Iranian parents, and the experience of exile left its mark. In an illuminating examination of German society, the author embarks on a search for a common language, for a way to bridge the eternal opposition between "us" and "the others". Her view is always surprising, her analysis always perceptive. There's the refugee child who finds comfort in Spitzweg's cozy paintings which Hitler was such a fan of. There are the indecipherably-written bureaucratic German  pension notifications received by a neighbour in Sardinia. There's the Persian New Year tradition of releasing goldfish into the wild and the new freedom to choose one's own new traditions.

Asal Dardan © Sarah Berger
Asal Dardan, born in Tehran in 1978, grew up in Cologne, Bonn and Aberdeen after her parents fled Iran as refugees. She studied Cultural Studies in Hildesheim and Middle Eastern studies in Lund. As a freelance writer, she writes for Zeit Online, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and the Berliner Zeitung, among others. She also works as a freelance editor and author for the online magazine was wäre wenn. She was awarded the Caroline Schlegel Prize for essay writing for her text Neue Jahre. After years on the island of Öland in Sweden, Asal Dardan now lives with her family in Berlin.

Who can participate?

Everyone who wants to read, discover, meet German authors online and share their reading experience with others is welcome. The conversation will be in German. All participants should have sufficient language skills to read and discuss in German.

Participation is free of charge. 
Register Now Technical requirements

We will use Zoom for our meeting. We recommend the use of a headset, as speakers can create disturbing echo effects. Participation is possible from PC and Mac. To participate, simply follow the link we will send you when you register.