Interview 27 Dec 16

Iraqi Star Writer Recalls Balkan Refugee Ordeal

Award-winning writer Hassan Blasim has personal experience of the horrors of life on the Balkan refugee route, but - on a trip back to Sofia - he tells BIRN that he has never lost hope. 

Mariya Cheresheva
BIRN
Sofia
Hassan Blasim. Photo: Manol Peykov

In 2014, Hassan Blasim became the first Arab writer to win the UK’s Independent Foreign Fiction Prize with his collection of short stories “The Iraqi Christ”.

The 42-year-old writer, poet and filmmaker from Baghdad, has broken many taboos in Arab literature with his dark, brutal and often shocking stories of war, exodus and daily life in modern Iraq.

Praised throughout Europe but often condemned back home, where he has never been published, Blasim renounces any claims that his works depict his own difficult life as a political refugee.

Blasim is a connoisseur of the Balkan route - the network of Balkan roads, paths and legal or illegal border crossings which, since the outbreak of the global refugee crisis in 2015, became one of the main pathways through which refugees escaping Africa, the Middle East or Asia have reached EU countries.

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