Hassan Blasim

Hassan Blasim is a poet, filmmaker and short story writer. Born in Baghdad in 1973, he studied at the city’s Academy of Cinematic Arts, where two of his films ‘Gardenia’ (screenplay) and ‘White Clay’ (screenplay & director) won the Academy’s Festival Award for Best Work in their respective years. In 1998 he left Baghdad for Sulaymaniya (Iraqi Kurdistan), where he continued to make films, including the feature-length drama Wounded Camera, under the pseudonym Ouazad Osman, fearing for his family back in Baghdad under the Hussein dictatorship. In 2004, he moved to Finland, where he has since made numerous short films and documentaries for Finnish television. His stories have previously been published on www.iraqstory.com and his essays on cinema have featured in Cinema Booklets (Emirates Cultural Foundation).
After first appearing in English in Madinah, his debut collection The Madman of Freedom Square was translated from Arabic by Jonathan Wright and published by Comma a year later (2009). Madman was long-listed for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2010, and has since been translated into five languages. A heavily edited version of the book was finally published in Arabic in 2012, and was immediately banned in many Arab countries. His second collection The Iraqi Christ was published in 2013. He has won the English PEN Writers in Translation award twice, and was recently described by The Guardian as ‘perhaps the greatest writer of Arabic fiction alive’.