Atiq Rahimi

Writer and filmmaker, Atiq Rahimi was born in Kabul. When the soviets invaded Afghanistan he left the country and sought refuge in France, where he settled and did a PhD in Cinema at the Sorbonne. Atiq Rahimi presented his first literary project in 2000, Terre et Cendres (Earth and Ashes), which was published by P.O.L. and was an immediate hit in Europe and South America. Based on that novel, he directed the film with the same title, winning a total of 25 awards in various cinema festivals, in particular the Prix du Regard vers l’Avenir at the Cannes Film Festival, in 2004. In 2002, following the fall of the Taliban regime, Rahimi returned to Afghanistan after eighteen years of exile and photographed the city of Kabul. Six of those pictures were purchased by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. His novel, Syngué Sabour (The Patience Stone, in Polly McLean’s translation) is the first one to be written directly in French, and was awarded the 2008 Goncourt prize. According to the author, choosing French instead of his mother tongue was a way to escape the “involuntary self-censorship” he feels when writing in Persian. His work is published in English by Penguin, with the support of English PEN.

Related / Latest Publication:
Atiq Rahimi, The Patience Stone, translated by Polly McLean (Vintage, January 2011)