Piotr Ibrahim Kalwas
(1963, Poland) sang in a punk band, worked as a journalist, and wrote a popular TV series before converting to Islam in 2000 and moving to Egypt with his wife and son. One of his reasons for going to live in Alexandria was his increasing annoyance at the worsening social behaviour in Poland. The low cost of living and the agreeable climate also played a role. He was also curious about how he, as a Western cosmopolitan, would find life in a Muslim country. He hasn't regretted his choice although he does find fault with life in his new home. His book Egypte Haram halal is very critical about traditionalism in Egypt, as well about the legally forbidden but still common practice of female circumcision. In interviews, too, he denounces traditions and pleads for a tolerant and open Islam.(2017)
Archive available for: Piotr Ibrahim Kalwas
Listen to stories from near and far. They will be told by African, Latin American and Asian students, as well as by Winternachten Festival guests Salena Godden (UK) and Piotr Ibrahim Kalwas (Poland). Do you have a story that fits the bill? Come down to the ISS and get registered. In English
The Polish author talks about his favourite book - the book that inspires or moves him; the book that formed his moral or intellectual compass; the book that he would recommend to anyone. Interviewer: Hassnae Bouazza. In English.
Can the secrets of a city a collection of microcosms, a collection of past and layered histories ever be completely and commonly uncovered? The festival asked seven authors to write about their own "secret" cities. Not the city that they see when they walk out the door and onto the street, but the city that they occasionally and unexpectedly come across. Participants read in their own language, with English and Dutch translations projected simultaneously.
Four writers, eight cities. In The tale of Two Cities, writers for whom "the city" has more than one face have their say. Dutch sociologist Corina Duijndam lived among disadvantaged youth in the suburbs of Paris and Amsterdam; Ibrahim Piotr Kalwas knows his birth city Warsaw like the back of his hand and his chosen home of Alexandria (Egypt) like the back of his other hand; Ilja Leonard Pfeiffer once swore by Leiden but is now stuck on Genoa (Italy); and Israel's Dorit Rabinyan jumps back and forth between New York, Tel Aviv (Israel) and Ramallah (Palestine) in her novel about impossible love between an Israeli and a Palestinian. Moderator: Christine Otten.