Ali Al-Jallawi


1975  born in Manama, Bahrain

Ali Al-Jallawi began writing poetry at the age of fourteen. His early work was characterised by revolutionary and political ideas, and in 1993, at the age of 17, he was arrested and imprisoned for six months because of a poem in which he criticised the political regime in Bahrain. He was arrested again in 1995, because of his political activities, and was imprisoned until 1998. In 2011 Al-Jallawi took part in pro-democracy protests in Bahrain, and was forced to leave the country in fear for his safety.

Ali Al-Jallawi lives in Weimar, Germany.

Fellowships, Grants, Awards
2012 Berlin Fellowship, Akademie der Künste, Berlin
2011 Grant from Weimar Stadt der Zuflucht e.V., Weimar, Germany

Professional Activities
2007 Part-time journalist/columnist covering arts/culture, Al Wasat (only opposition newspaper in Bahrain), Manama, Bahrain
2005-2006 Part-time journalist/columnist covering arts/culture, Al Ayyam (second oldest daily newspaper in Bahrain), Manama, Bahrain

My current project is a novel, called "Yadallah's Shoes". In brief, the story is about a cobbler (shoemaker) who helps people lives by changing their shoes.
Throughout human history, changes in people have started from the top: religions and ideologies have worked to change humans by influencing their thoughts and ideas. My novel does not contradict this idea – that changing people is nothing but changing the concepts they have – but rather replaces the location in a person where that change occurs. It looks at the opposite end of the body, where people don’t usually pay attention: the feet and shoes. From acupuncture and reflexology we already have an idea of the effect that pressure on the feet might have on a person’s nature and mood. I want to expand on this, using the metaphor of a cobbler, to examine how societies are influenced by ideologies, usually without noticing how they are being manipulated.

Publications (Selection)
2011  Allah Ba’da Al ‘Ashira, Memoir of time in prison in 1990s, Riad El-Rayyes Books, Beirut
2008  Yahud Al-Bahrain, a study of the Jewish community in Bahrain, Faradees Publishing, Bahrain
Tashta’il karazat nahd, Collection of Poems, Al Intishar Al Arabi, Beirut
2007  Al-Baha’iya, a study of the Baha’i faith, focusing on the Baha’i community in Bahrain, Al-Jallawi Centre for Research and Studies, Bahrain,
2004  Dilmuniyat Collection of Poems (both parts, new edition), Ministry of Culture, Yemen
2003  Dilmuniyat II, Collection of Poems, Dar Kan’aan, Syria
2002  Dilmuniyat I, Collection of Poems, Dar Aalia, Kuwait
Al Madina Al Akhira, Collection of Poems, Arab Foundation for Studies and Publication, Beirut
2000  Al ‘Isyan, Collection of Poems, Dar Al Mada, Syria
1999  Wajhan li-mra’atin wahida, Collection of Poems, Dar Al Kunooz, Beirut

Ali Al-Jallawi had numerous public readings at international festivals since 1998. In 2011 he participated in the Frankfurt Book Festival and held several readings in Berlin.