Win a Free Copy of Rafik Schami’s Latest Book, The Calligrapher’s Secret

In What's the Buzz by Brittany Hazelwood

The German Book Office New York hosts monthly book giveaways that feature newly released German titles in English translation. This month, the GBO is giving away copies of The Calligrapher’s Secret by Rafik Schami, translated by Anthea Bell and was released in October 2011 by Interlink Books. (Read our coverage of Schami’s new publishing house, Swallow Editions.)

Win a Copy of The Calligrapher’s Secret

You can win a copy one of two ways (all submissions should be sent to

  1. Submit a picture of your own sample calligraphy, or
  2. Send in an interesting fact about calligraphy.

The GBO will post the winning submission on Facebook. Email your submissions and mailing address to

About the Book

The Calligrapher’s Secret is a new international bestseller from the award-winning author of The Dark Side of Love, Rafik Schami.

In the narrow streets of the old city of Damascus, a rumor is circulating: Noura, the beautiful wife of the famous calligrapher Hamid Farsi, has escaped. Even as a young man, Hamid Farsi is acclaimed as a master of the art of calligraphy. But as time goes by, he sees that weaknesses in the Arabic language and its script limit its uses in the modern world. In a secret society, he works out schemes for radical reform, never guessing what risks he is taking and how far the purists are willing to go to stop him.

His beautiful wife, Noura, is ignorant of the great plans on her husband’s mind. She knows only his cold, avaricious side and so it is no wonder she feels flattered by the attentions of his amusing, lively young apprentice. And so begins a passionate love story — the love of a Muslim woman and a Christian man.

“Warmly observed, richly detailed . . . Schami’s fine portrait of life in Damascus, Syria, in the middle of the 20th century is filled with a compelling set of characters . . . exquisite storytelling . . . A novel to be savored.” —Publishers Weekly

“A literary masterpiece… a sensual homage to Damascus . . . you only wish it were a neverending story.” —Hamburger Abendblatt

“Schami is a master storyteller . . . Imbuing historical fiction with a sense of mystery, Schami has created a page turner that simultaneously pays tribute to the architecture and life style of Old Damascus . . . His story is music not only for the eye, but for the soul as well.” —Jordan Times

About the Author and Translator

Rafik Schami was born in Damascus in 1946 and came to Germany in 1971. Today he is the most successful German-speaking Arabic writer. His novels have been translated into 23 languages receiving numerous international awards. His bestselling novel The Dark Side of Love received a starred review in Publishers Weekly and was selected by NPR as a Favorite Summer Read.

Anthea Bell has won many awards for her translations from German, notably for W. G. Sebald’s Austerlitz.

About the Author

Brittany Hazelwood