Raqqa : Euphrates and Literature

 Najah Ibrahim, novelist and Chairperson of Raqqa’s Arab Writers Association’s branch talked to Syria Times on her Career and literature life in Raqaa city.

Can you tell our readers little about your life and interest in literature?

My literature interests began when I was in the Eighth Class; I participated in many schools activities and literature nights in my area. I began in reading the fame and well-known Arab and Syrian writers. I remembered my first novel was  ‘ Basma among tears’ written by Dr. Abdulsalam al-Ojely, who is from Raqqa city,  works for Jibran Khalil Jibran and others. I continued my literature readings and school study. I chose to study the Arab Literature and continued the post-graduate studies. I issued my first stories volume ‘Glory in the Black Bag’ in 1992 and keep issuing till today. My works were translated to Turkish, Kurdish and English languages, my novel ‘Immar’ is currently being translated into English in Egypt. I have eleven printed works and three draft works. I participated in literature activities and festivals in Turkey, Kuwait, Libya and Lebanon. I was elected to be the chairperson of the Arab Writers Association’s Raqqa Branch to serve the literature and writers in my province and achieve what I believe in.

What is the importance of Raqqa’s literature life in general and short story in particular in Syria and Arab world?

Although Raqqa is a small province but it produced well-known writers, researchers and novelists who play key role in the Syrian and Arab cultural arena. The city’s writers could reach their works to the Arab states and attract many well-known Arab and international writers to visit the city and participate in its literature activities. Raqqa’s writers have special participation in the short story and novel works. A Syrian famous writer said that Raqqa is the country’s capital of short story. Its writers are very professional  in choosing ideas, themes and poetic language with local accents and terms.

Would  you tell readers about  the most famous novelists and short stories’ writers in Raqqa?

I said before that there are many writers and novelists in Raqqa. I can mention some of them but cannot count all of them. the most well-known story  writer in Syria and the Arab world is Dr. Abdulsalam al-Ojely, who was born and lived in the city of Raqqa. If I want to describe Raqqa , I can say there are two Euphrates , one is the river and the second is Ojely who describes  the hard life and details of the city in his most works. Ojely’s works are translated in many languages and gave international fame to the city. There are other writers such as Khalil Jassim Hamidi, Ibrahim Khalil, Sami Hamza, Subhi Dousoqi, Omar al-Hamoud, Ibrahim al-A’aloush and others.

How the desert environment and Euphrates River affect the literature works?

If any reader reads works written by Raqqa’s writers, he will feel the affect of the Euphrates and desert and Bedouin life between lines. Each writer reflects  his/her  background in an  indirect  or direct way on his works and Raqqa’s writers are very loyal to their social background, women life and tribal traditions. The sunshine and colourful nature also are reflected in their novels, stories and paintings. 


Obaida Mohamad