A Biography

Writing is, for me, a way of life. It is identity. Writing fiction is the only thing to which I wish to devote the rest of my life. I have been writing fiction for as long as I can remember. At the age of 12, I was making carbon copies of my short stories and selling them to my siblings and classmates [see below a couple of examples].

In my early twenties, I published my first short story in a Kurdish newspaper and it was very well-received by the literary community. Sherzad Hassan, one of the most well-respected Iraqi Kurdish writers of the time, said: “It rarely happens that a writer’s first story is a masterpiece.” Fact was I didn’t know that another short story of mine had been published in a Kurdish magazine in Sweden. I had written that when I was only nineteen and had sent it to the magazine when I was living in Iran as a young refugee. But communication at the time was for various reasons not possible for me. So I never heard from them until years later I was in Europe myself and a friend surprised me with a copy of that magazine; my story in it. He showed me another issue of the magazine, in which another Kurdish writer had strongly criticised my story for being written from the perspective of a petit-bourgeois character. 🙂

I continued to write and publish short stories in Kurdish, as well as a couple in Dutch, when years later I ended up living in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. And that was my third time becoming a refugee. Although not all my writing is about refugees, the subject has become – well logically – the theme of quite a number of articles, columns and other work I have written in the past two decades. The theme, haunting me all the time, came back to me again in 2012 and sowed the seeds for my novel The Glass Wall, which I published in November 2021.

The Glass Wall being my debut novel in the English language, I have also published a novella in Kurdish in 2011, titled The Man who was a Tree. I have rewritten this book into a more comprehensive novel in English, planed to be published at the start of 2023 by Afsana Press. Click here to read a short excerpt of this novella in Amsterdam Quarterly.

Who am I

Did I say writing was my identity? It’s actually more complicated than that. I’m also a visual artist, though not always practicing. And I’ve spent a good deal of my life trying to making films or write them, edited films and played around with my precious time. But I mainly have lived a life. I think that’s also counted as creativity. Oh, and there is more. I’ve lost count of the many times I have started a life completely from scratch. I mean literarily; in many various ways. One of the results is that I’m right now a mixture of various nationalities: Kurdish/Dutch/British. Originally from Iraqi Kurdistan, I left this country in 1994, lived in various cities in the world, including 15 years in Amsterdam. I moved to London at the end of 2012, where I have spent most of my time writing, beside my part-time freelance job reporting news from Iraq for the English language outlet INSIGHT. Oh, of course journalism is another part of that mixed-up identity.


In Sulaimaniyah, the city I was born and raised up, I had gone to a college of arts. Then I studied sociology in Amsterdam but went from there into journalism. I followed many various courses in journalism and film-making and editing. Finally, I did what I had to do all along: I completed an MA in creative writing at Birkbeck, University of London, in 2019. And here I am with my first novel published. Eh… self-published. 😉