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Biography: Adnan Al-Sayegh



Adnan Al-Sayegh was born in Al-Kufa, Iraq in 1955. He is a poet of the Eightie's Movement in Iraq; a generation of poets voicing their discontent that stems from having to choose between living in the chaos of their homeland or being exilled from their own culture; they are torn between love for their native land and hatred against those who are in charge. He has become the most important poet of this Eightie's Movement.

Adnan has never allowed himself to be influenced by censorship or intimidation and, in both his poetry and prose, sharply condemns each and every form of dictatorship. He has especially been critical of his own country Iraq and its autocrat Saddam Hussein.

In 1993, because of threats from the Iraqi government, he escaped the country and settled with his family in Amman, Jordan. But the threats reached him even to Jordan and in 1996 he moved to Beirut, Lebanon with his family. There he published the book Orok's anthem which is the longest text written in Arabic literature for 2000 years. For this book he was sentenced to death in Iraq. Later on the same year he moved to Sweden with his family. Since 2004 he lives in London.


Adnan is a member of The Iraqi Union of writers, The Arab Union of Writers, the Iraqi and Arab Journalists Union, The International Journalist Organization, The Swedish Writers Union and The Swedish Pen Club.

He has won the first price in the Cultural Interview Awards distributed by The Iraqi Journalist Union in 1988 and, in 1992, he won first price in an Iraqi National Poetry Contest. He has also won the Hellman-Hammet International Poetry Award in New York 1996 and the International Poetry Award in Rotterdam 1997.

His poems have been translated to English, Swedish, Spanish, French, German, Romanian, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Persian and Kurdish.

He writes about freedom, love, beauty and the struggle for justice and against the dictatorship.


The following collections of Adnan's poetry have been published:
- She waits for me under the statue of liberty (Baghdad, 1984)
- Songs on the bridge of Kufa (Baghdad, 1986)
- Birds don't love bullets (Baghdad, 1986)
- Sky in a helmet (Baghdad, 1988)
- Mirror for her long hair (Baghdad, 1992)
- Clouds of glue (Baghdad, 1993)
- Under a strange sky (London, 1994)
- Formations (Beirut and Amman, 1996)
- Orok anthem (Beirut, 1996)
- A shout as large as a native country (Sweden, 1998)
- To cuddle my exile (Sweden, 2001).


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