A Literature Across Frontiers post announces:

KurdîLit website is now online!

The English version of the website provides a mission statement:

KurdîLit is a website that aims to bring together and digitally archive basic information regarding actors (writers, translators, publishers, and periodic literary publications) operating in the field of Kurdish literature and publishing. The efforts to make this basic information accessible in three languages aim to establish more solid networks of communication between Kurdish literature producers in Turkey and actors operating in the international literary arena. KurdîLit was planned as a result of collaborations that emerged from conversations on the field of Kurdish literature among Diyarbakır Arts Center, Lîs Editions, and Literature Across Frontiers. This project undertakes to catalog current information and knowledge about Kurdish literature, which stands at a critical juncture of debates over cultural rights and freedom of expression in Turkey. In so doing, KurdîLit aims to improve the visibility of contemporary literature in the Kurmanjî and Kurmanjkî dialects of Kurdish, not only in Turkey but also in the wider region and the international arena; and it aims to foster relationships between contemporary Kurdish literature and European languages and literatures.

The Kurds have had a rough century or so, and I hope this initiative brings wider awareness of their culture and languages. Thanks, Trevor!


  1. For those LH readers who are interested in dipping their toe (or diving all the way) into the Kurdish languages, there are some good free resources for Kurmanji and Sorani. At the Harvard Iranian studies website, you can download PDF’s of two wonderful learning grammars, Sorani Kurdish: A Reference Grammar with Selected Readings and Kurmanji Kurdish: A Reference Grammar with Selected Readings by Wheeler M. Thackston, professor emeritus of Near Eastern languages at Harvard. Here is the link:


    For spoken Kurmanji, there is a remarkable series of 60 15-minute videos on YouTube for learning Kurmanji, Dersa Kurdî, using an immersive communicative method:


    Some of these video lessons, like number 16, are even quite amusing and fun if you have mastered the grammar being discussed in the lesson.

    If you work through Prof. Thackston’s Kurmanji grammar and then begin watching this video along with doing the readings in the grammar, together they will constitute a very good introduction to Kurmanji. In particular, the excerpts that Prof. Thackston offers from the works of the writer Qadrîcan from the city of Dêrik have a great deal of charm and literary merit.

    I don’t know, unfortunately, of any similarly accessible and excellent resources for learning the other Kurdish languages, such as Zazaki. (Zazaki is the language that the KurdîLit website calls Kurmanjkî—and indeed Kurmanji and Zazaki are not dialects of one language, but two completely different languages, as distinct as Portuguese and Spanish. I live in a household with one speaker of Kurmanji and one speaker of Zazaki, and I observe the mutual incomprehensibility of these languages every day.)

  2. Thanks very much for that! I have Thackston’s Introduction to Persian, which is an excellent book.

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