Iraqi-born writer gets Kurdish kudos

Iraqi-born writer gets K

Sami Michael 88 (photo credit: )
Sami Michael 88
(photo credit: )
Sami Michael has won an unexpected honor from a region of the world close to his place of birth. While the 83-year-old Baghdad-born author was at this year's Frankfurt International Book Fair he learned that a synopsis of his latest book, Aida, has been released in Kurdistan, part of which is located in northern Iraq. One of the main characters in Aida is, in fact, a Kurdish woman who becomes involved with a well respected elderly Jewish resident of Baghdad towards the end of the Saddam regime. The full book is also due to be published in Kurdish and Arabic. Considering Michael's background, the cultural mix of the main characters in Aida is not surprising. Michael grew up and was educated in a mixed Baghdad neighborhood of Jews, Muslims and Christians. At 15 he joined the Communist underground in Iraq and at 17 he began to write for clandestine Communist newspapers. When he was 21 a warrant was issued for his arrest and he fled to Iran, where he continued his communist activities. Michael made aliya in 1949 and settled in Haifa. He is a longtime president of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel. Meanwhile, it was announced that one of Michael's earlier books, A Trumpet in the Wadi, which came out in Hebrew in 1987 and in English in 2003, is due to be published in Mandarin Chinese, as is his 1993 novel Victoria. Michael's first novel All Men Are Equal, which came out in Hebrew in 1974, will be released in German in the near future and his 1975 children's book Storm Among the Palms is now available in Italian.