Born in Damascus, Syria in 1946, Rafik Schami (Arabic: رفيق شامي) is the son of a baker from an Arab-Christian (originally Aramaic) family. His schooling and university studies (diploma in chemistry) took place in Damascus. From 1965, Schami wrote stories in Arabic. From 1964-70 he was the co-founder and editor of the wall news-sheet Al-Muntalak (The Starting-Point) in the old quarter of the city. In 1971 Schami moved to Heidelberg and financed further studies by typical guest worker jobs (factories, building sites, restaurants). He earned his doctorate in chemistry in 1979 and began career in the chemical industry. In his spare time, he co-founded the literary group Südwind in 1980 and was part of the PoLiKunst movement. Schami became a full time author in 1982. He lives in Kirchheimbolanden with his Bavarian wife and son and he holds dual citizenship. Schami's books have been translated into 20 languages