Ronya Othmann

  • The summer
  • Literature

Leyla spends every summer in a village in northern Syria – for most of the year, she, the daughter of a German from the Black Forest and a Yazidi Kurd, lives in Munich, where she attends high school. Those around her find it difficult to classify Leyla – she is a Yazidi, not a Muslim. She is Kurdish, not Syrian. Everything about her is irritating.

Leyla’s own memories of childhood holidays and village school without desks and chairs are mixed with her father’s memories of mines and police violence. On the internet she sees the destroyed Aleppo, the murder of the Yazidis by the IS and right next to it the carefree photos of her German friends, who also do not ask a single question about the war or their relatives. Thus an alienation happens in Leyla, while at the same time she gets closer to her family and those who are at war – and the reader with her.

Ronya Othmann was born in Munich in 1993, she studied at the Literature Institute in Leipzig. Among many recognized prizes, she received the Audience Award of the Ingeborg Bachmann Competition in 2019. She writes poetry, prose, essays and journalism; together with Cemile Sahin, she publishes the column OrientExpress on Middle East politics in the taz. She criticizes romanticizing ideas of Kurdistan and demanded in the taz: “We have to talk about political Islam. ” Die Sommer is Ronya Othmann’s first novel.


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