Akademie-Forum: Rainer Merkel

“Beirut belongs to us…”: Writing in and about Lebanon


Rainer Merkel


Prof. Dr. Kai Wiegandt


Rainer Merkel’s "Stadt ohne Gott" (2018) is a novel about refugees and their helpers, set in Beirut at the time of the Syrian civil war. In the Akademie-Forum, the author will report on his research in Lebanon and on his collaboration with the documentation collective UMAM. He will show photos taken during joint research with a Lebanese photographer in the Bekaa Plain, and he will read English-language texts written in Beirut, as well as from “Stadt ohne Gott”

The event will take place in the Mozart Auditorium of the Barenboim-Said Akademie.

Registration is required; admission is free.

Rainer Merkel

Rainer Merkel, born in Cologne in 1964, studied psychology and art history and lives in Berlin. From 2008 to 2009 he worked for Cap Anamur in Liberia’s only psychiatric hospital. He published the novels “Das Jahr der Wunder”, for which he received the Jürgen Ponto Foundation Prize, “Das Gefühl am Morgen”, “Lichtjahre entfernt”, which was shortlisted for the German Book Prize, “Bo”, “Stadt ohne Gott” and the reportages “Das Unglück der anderen. Kosovo, Liberia, Afghanistan“ and “Go Ebola Go. Eine Reise nach Liberia”. In 2018, NDR broadcast the radio play “Peace Island”, and in 2020 the play “Lauf und bring mir dein nacktes Leben” premiered at the Staatstheater Darmstadt. In 2013, Rainer Merkel was awarded the Erich Fried Prize.