Ronya Othman

  • The summers
  • Literature

Every summer Leyla spends in a village in northern Syria – most of the year she lives in Munich, daughter of a German from the Black Forest and a Yezidi Kurd, attends high school. Her environment finds it difficult to classify Leyla – she is a Yezidin, not a Muslim. She is Kurdish, not Syrian. Everything about her is irritating.

With Leyla’s own memories of childhood vacations and village school without tables and chairs, her father’s memories of mines and police violence mix. On the Internet she sees the destroyed Aleppo, the murder of the Yazidi by the IS and right next to it the carefree photos of her German friends, who don’t ask a question about the war or their relatives. Thus an alienation happens in Leyla, while at the same time she approaches her family and those who are at war – and the reader, the reader with her.

Ronya Othmann was born in Munich in 1993, she studied at the Institute of Literature in Leipzig. In addition to many recognised prizes, she was awarded the Audience Prize of the Ingeborg Bachmann Competition in 2019. She writes poetry, prose, essays and journalism; together with Cemile Sahin she publishes the column OrientExpress in the taz on Middle East politics. She criticises romanticising notions of Kurdistan and demanded in the taz: “We must talk about political Islam. “Summer is Ronya Othmann’s first novel.