We want to give a platform to the stories of the hundreds of thousands who have fled from countries such as Afghanistan, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Kurdistan, Syria and Ukraine in recent years – people mainstream German society talks about, but seldom listens to. A lively exchange between those who were born in Germany and those who have migrated here defuses tension and provides a unique record of recent migration history.

We have joined forces with PEN Berlin, whose authors will accompany our young writers on their literary journey. Some of PEN Berlin’s authors have experienced flight and migration themselves and can therefore serve as role models for a successful arrival in Germany. The project specifically uses the poetic form to express and preserve feelings and stories in verse. Things that seem unspeakable at first are transformed into an artistic dialogue; conversely, things that once seemed foreign become more familiar. Prejudices against people with a different origin, skin color, or religion are usually strongest in places with little contact and little knowledge of these people and their lives. Writing one's own history in such a way that people with similar experiences can find themselves in it and people with completely different experiences can learn something about "others" as well as themselves is the very task of literature.


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Unfortunately, contemporary German literature does not adequately reflect our rapidly changing society. Most refugees — especially those who are young — have come to Germany to stay. However, they can only fully arrive in Germany when they can contribute to the social discourse and when society listens to what they have to say. Otherwise, they are here only in a physical sense. This means participating in the narratives that shape collective identity and the bonds that hold society together.

We organize:

  • Regular writing workshops in Berlin (in Arabic, German, English, Kurdish, Persian, Ukrainian)
  • Readings in Berlin and throughout Germany
  • Multilingual publications
PEN author Meral Şimşek with her workshop group after a successful reading.
PEN author Meral Şimşek with her workshop group after a successful reading.
Image: © Christin Dohmeier