Jalal Barzanji

Writer, Author

1953 –


Who is Jalal Barzanji?

Jalal Barzanji is a contemporary Kurdish poet and writer.

He has served on the board of Writers' Union and was Executive Director of Ministry of Culture in Iraqi Kurdistan. He left Iraqi-Kurdistan in 1996 due to an ongoing civil war in Kurdistan. He has been living in Canada since 1998 after escaping Iraq where he was tortured and imprisoned because of his writings from 1986 to 1989. He was appointed as the Edmonton-PEN Canada Writer-in-Exile for the period 2007-2008. He helped establish the Canadian Kurdish Friendship Association and the Edmonton Immigrant Support Network Society. He has published six books of poetry and was the 2004 recipient of aRISE award. He is due to publish a memoir sometime in October 2011. In the memoir Barzanji writes about his imprisonment in 1986-1989, during which time he endured torture under Saddam Hussein’s regime because of his literary and journalistic achievements—writing that openly explores themes of peace, democracy, and freedom. For those three years, Barzanji wrote only on scrap paper, smuggled into his cell in Iraq. He wrote his memoir during his time as the first Writer In Exile of PEN Canada.

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on July 23, 2013


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