Rasha Abbas

Rasha Abbas


رشا عباس

Rasha Abbas is a Syrian journalist and short story writer. Born in Latakia and brought up in Damascus, she studied journalism at Damascus University. While working as an editor for television, she published her first short story collection entitled Adam hates TV (2008). After joining the anti-government protests in 2011, she had to leave her country, moving first to Beirut and later to Germany. She is currently based in Berlin where she is culture editor at the prominent Syrian opposition media outlet Aljumhuriya.net. She has held a number of fellowships and writing residencies across Europe and North America, and takes part in cultural festivals. She co-wrote the script for a short film, Happiness and Bliss (2013), produced by Bedayat, and contributed, both as a writer and as a translator, to Syria Speaks: Art and Culture from the Frontline (2014), published by Saqi Books. She has published two short story collections (The Invention of German, 2016 and The Gist of It, 2017) and is currently working on her first novel and her fourth short story collection.

In 2022, her short story collection The Gist of It was adapted for stage and performed in three languages at Berlin’s Gorki theatre as Eine Zusammenfassung von allem, was war.

© Loris Rizzo
Date of birth : 1984
Country of birth: Syria
Country of residence: Germany
Publisher(s): Al Mutawassit
Contact: teneleven (agency)

Selected bibliography


“In Abbas’ prose, [the] “art of survival” is achieved and expressed through the blending of times and spaces as well as the aesthetic transformation of reality into surreal realm Moritz Schramm, Dancing with the Sniper: Rasha Abbas and the “Art of Survival” as an Aesthetic Strategy, by Humanities 2023

Review of Eine Zusammenfassung von allem, was war, by Inforadio / rbb, 2022

New voices For Europe : Get out of the bubble by Literature Across Frontiers, November 2021

Syrian writer Rasha Abbas about her experience of Germany as a refugee – from learning the language to falling in with Berlin hipsters – as satirised in her book “The Invention of German Grammar,” in Exberliner, June 2016

“I find dreams an astonishingly rich source for images and stories that can be used in fictional writing” We Can’t Compete in Writing, an interview with Rasha Abbas, Schloss-Post, 2015

Prizes and awards

  • She has held a number of fellowships and residencies both in Europe and in North America
  • Her short story “You Can Call Me Velvet,” translated by Katharine Halls was short-listed for the ArabLit Story Prize 2021
  • Her short story “How to Swim the Backstroke with a Shilka Missile,” translated by Fatima El-Kalay was shortlisted for the ArabLit Story Prize 2018
  • Her first collection was awarded a prize for young writers during the Damascus Capital of Arab Culture Festival
  • British Library creative residency, supported by Shubbak Festival of Contemporary Arab Culture and the British Council, London, 2017
  • Civitella Ranieri residency, Umbria, 2017
  • Artist-in-residence fellowship at the Literarisches Colloquium Berlin, 2015
  • Artist-in-residence fellowship with translator Alice Guthrie at the OMI Art Center Translation Lab in Ghent, New York, 2015
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau Fellowship at the Akademie Schloß Solitude, 2014


Book(s) featured on this site

Reviewed by Cristina Dozio