Brussels International: New Voices (1)

Wed 24.03.2021
14:30 - 15:30
DEF BI passaporta siteweb 2000


online event


performance, lecture


free admission


In several languages, with subtitles in French and Dutch

During two showcases, Passa Porta and partners will give the floor to a selection of foreign authors who live in Belgium but are not sufficiently well known here. Naturally, they can’t wait for you to discover them and read their work. In this session, the Polish-Belgian writer and philosopher Alicja Gescinska will be introducing Zuher Karim, Grażyna Plebanek and Barrack Rima.

Talent to spare

About a third of all people living in Belgium are of foreign origin or have another nationality. Moreover, never before has our country hosted more writers who have left their native country. Passa Porta wants to give these new literary neighbours more visibility in the ‘Brussels International’ programme.

In this first showcase, held in collaboration with Lagrange Points, you will get to see and hear the poet Zuher Karim from Iraq; the novelist Grażyna Plebanek, who is mainly popular in Poland; and the graphic novelist Barrack Rima, who divides his time between Brussels and Lebanon. The authors will present themselves and read from recent work in their own languages. Subtitles in Dutch and French will be provided.

The English translation of Plebanek's reading is available on our website.

Lagrange Points

Lagrange Points is a Brussels-based collective of students, teachers, musicians, writers and cultural activists from different countries that highlights the wide diversity of Arabic culture and literature. The group has a fine bookshop and a space for small events in Rue des Tanneurs.

About the authors

Zuher Karim (1965) is an Iraqi poet, novelist and critic who has lived and worked in Brussels since 2003. Besides novels and collections of short stories, he publishes travel books and articles in various Arab newspapers and magazines. Besides Arabic - the language in which he mainly writes - Karim also speaks English and French. In 2020, he published his third novel 'Northeastern clouds', the travel book 'Songs of Sand and Mango: A Book on Travel Literature' and his latest novel 'Saffron Threads' (in Arabic). French-speaking readers could already get to know him in the anthology Ceci n'est pas une valise. Récits arabes sous un ciel belge (2017). Recurring themes in Karim's work are war, love, social conflict, freedom and dictatorship.

Grażyna Plebanek (1967) is a Polish writer and journalist who moved to Brussels in 2005. Besides columns for Polityka, Wysokie Obcasy Extra and Trendy, she writes prose and (theatre) scripts. In 2012, Storkpress published the English translation of her book Illegal Liaisons and in 2019 Furie appeared in a French translation at Le Livre de Poche. Central themes in Plebanek's work are boxing, gender, morality, desire, eroticism, multiculturalism, and violence against women. She is currently working on a prose book about Brussels, which will be published in Poland in 2021.

The Lebanese graphic novelist Barrack Rima (1972) has been living in Brussels for quite some time and is a member Samandal, a comic book collective in Beirut. In French, he published Le Conteur du Caire (1998), Beyrouth la trilogie (2017) and Dans le taxi (Alifabata, 2020). His work has also been published in weekly comic strips, in Arabic (Sociologia, 2014-2015) and in Dutch ('De Brusselmansen' in Brussel Deze Week from 1998 to 2003). Rima also makes films and documentaries, in French and Arabic. He is currently working on the fiction film The Land of Milk and Honey with Isabelle Nouzha.

Passa Porta, Lagrange Points

illustration brussels international © cécile barraud de lagerie
photo grazyna plebanek © robert maslow

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