(This is a story from summer 2018 that was already on my website but not archived, and newsletter subscribers will get an alert that it’s ‘published’ now.)
The Amsterdam based Foundation for Literature gave Kurdish poet and translator Kawa Nemir a chance to catch his breath after arriving in the Netherlands from Turkey, where he was under increasing political pressure; Nemir became a writer in residence in the foundation’s program ‘Refuge City’. But Nemir is not the kind of man to catch his breath: he has been working hard ever since he landed in Amsterdam four months ago. ‘I am like a guerrilla’, he says in a cafe in a side street of one of Amsterdam’s famous historic canals. ‘I take my task very seriously and I never quit.’ The task ahead: publish hundreds of books in Kurdish, both Kurdish and international classics. Now that publishing in Kurdish in Turkey had become close to impossible, Nemir is aiming to make Amsterdam a hub for literature in Kurdish.