Abdolah, Kader 1952(?)–

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Abdolah, Kader 1952(?)–

Indicates that a listing has been compiled from secondary sources believed to be reliable, but has not been personally verified for this edition by the author sketched.

PERSONAL: Born 1952 (some sources say 1954), in Iran; immigrated, 1985; immigrated to the Netherlands, 1988. Education: Studied physics in Tehran, Iran.

ADDRESSES: Home—Netherlands. Agent—c/o Author Mail, HarperCollins Publishers, 10 E. 53rd St., 7th Fl., New York, NY 10022.

CAREER: Freelance writer and journalist.

AWARDS, HONORS: Award for best debut short story collection, 1993, for De adelaars; Dutch media prize, 1997, for Mirza; recipient of other Dutch awards for journalism and literature.


Wat willen de Koerden zeggen, [Tehran, Iran], 1980.

De adelaars (stories; title means "The Eagles"), 1993, De Geus (Breda, Netherlands), 2000.

De meisjes en de partizanen: verhalen (stories; title means "The Girls and the Partisans"), De Geus (Breda, Netherlands), 1995.

De reis van de lege flessen (novel; title means "The Journey of the Empty Bottles"), De Geus (Breda, Netherlands), 1997.

Buitenspeigels: verhalen over Nederland (stories), Van Gennep (Amsterdam, Netherlands)/Novib (The Hague, Netherlands), 1998.

Mirza (collected newspaper columns), De Geus (Breda, Netherlands), 1998.

Spijkerschrift: notities van Aga Akbar (main title means "Cuneiform"), De Geus (Breda, Netherlands), 2000.

Een tuin in de zee: Mirza (collected newspaper columns), De Geus (Breda, Netherlands), 2001.

De koffer, 2001.

Kéliléen Demné, 2nd edition, B. Bakker (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 2002.

Portretten en een oude droom, De Geus (Breda, Netherlands), 2003.

Also author of novel published in Tehran before 1985. Contributor to Dutch newspapers, including De Volkskrant; newspaper columnist.

SIDELIGHTS: A native of Iran, Kader Abdolah witnessed the end of the reign of the shahs in 1979 and the rise of the oppressive regime led by radical Shi'a Muslim cleric Ayatollah Khomeini. Abdolah began publishing his fiction and nonfiction in the 1970s, while also actively participating in the resistance against the government. Finally deciding to leave his homeland in 1985, with the help of the United Nations he settled in the Netherlands three years later. Quickly becoming fluent in Dutch, Abdolah began a career in journalism, regularly contributing to the newspaper De Volkskrant. He has also continued to publish fiction, this time in his adopted language.

Both Abdolah's fiction and his nonfiction draw on his own life experiences. As a newspaper writer, he has gained a reputation for fearlessly questioning some of the Dutch government's practices, a daring thing to do for an immigrant; as an author of novels and short stories, he often writes about Iranians who, like himself, have fled their country and are trying to adjust to being expatriates. De reis van de lege flessen, for example, features a character named Bolfazl who is an Iranian living in the Netherlands. Culture shock is a large part of the story, as Bolfazl tries to adjust to the food, surroundings, and much looser social standards in a country that has legal red-light districts, marijuana use, and even public nudity.

Spijkerschrift: notities van Aga Akbar also has an Iranian immigrant as the protagonist. When Ismael receives the diary of his deaf mute father, Aga Akbar, he sets out to translate the difficult scribblings about his father's life in Iran. The result, according to an Economist contributor is a "poignant and colourful picture of a humble life set against Iran's recent history."



Economist, February 24, 2001, "Below the Sking: Novels from the Netherlands," review of Spijkerschrift: notities van Aga Akbar, p. 141.