Kurdish Yezidi journalist wins award at German language literature festival

"I'm happy that many people could hear my text about the [Ezidi] genocide."

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – German-Kurdish-Yezidi author Ronya Othman won a public audience award on Saturday at the prestigious Festival of German-Language Literature in Klagenfurt, Austria.

Othman, 26, won the public audience award and received 7,000 Euros. She also received 5,000 Euros from the Klagenfurter City Scholarship.

Her text “Seventy Four” focused on the 74 genocides the Ezidi minority had survived at the hands of their neighbors throughout history.

During the 74th genocide carried out by the so-called Islamic State in August 2014, thousands of Ezidis were killed, displaced, and their women and children enslaved.

The United Nations also recognized the Islamic State crimes against the Ezidis as a genocide.

Othman told Kurdistan 24 she was delighted with the award.

“I’m happy that many people could hear my text about the genocide because it was broadcasted in German and Austrian TV,” she said.

The 26-year-old won the prize after a public vote where television audiences were also able to cast their ballots.

The voters were impressed by her story and the powerful narrative and testimony. The jury was also impressed with the text, with some saying they did not have the authority to criticize her work.

Othman has received many awards in the past. In 2015, she won the MDR literature award and in 2017, the Open Mike prize for her poetry and the Caroline-Schlegel-Förderpreis for an essay she wrote about the Kurdish-Yezidi diaspora.

The 26-year-old was born in Munich and is a German-Kurdish-Yezidi journalist, writer, and poet.

She studied creative writing at Deutsches Literaturinstitut Leipzig and currently lives in Leipzig.

She has written for German newspapers such as Der Spiegel, Zeit Online, and Taz.

This year, Othman was part of the jury of the Duhok International Film Festival in the Kurdistan Region.

She told Kurdistan 24 she wants to come back to Kurdistan in the future.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany