Literary Arts and the International Writers Project are pleased to welcome to Brown Syrian novelist Nihad Sirees, recipient of the 2012 – 2013 International Writers Project Fellowship. The IWP Fellowship provides a stipend and working space to writers who have been subjected to political harassment, imprisonment, or death threats in their homeland.
Nihad Sirees was born in Aleppo, Syria, in 1950. He is the distinguished author of seven novels, several plays, and numerous screenplays. His work has been banned from publication in Syria since the 1998 screening of his television drama, The Silk Market, which described social turmoil in Syria in 1956 – 61 and the subsequent rise to power of the Baath Party. He was branded an opponent of the government and publication of several of his works was forbidden by government censors. His subsequent novels, A Case of Passion and Noise and Silence, were published abroad. A historical television drama about the life of Lebanese-born American writer and painter Khalil Gibran, written during a stay at the International Writers Program at the University of Iowa in 2005, was produced in Lebanon and screened in 2007 on Arab satellite channels, but Sirees continued to be excluded from public intellectual and cultural life in Syria and banned from publishing or producing work in his homeland.
He left Syria in January, 2012, because he was being watched and followed by Syrian security services. Since that time he has lived in self-imposed exile in Cairo, Egypt.
Nihad will be in residence at Brown from October 2012 through February 2013.