Tamim Ansary Biography
Ansary grew up in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. He was named after
Tamim-i-Ansar, one of two brothers who conquered Afghanistan for Islam 1200
years ago and who now lie buried in matching 12-foot-long marble tombs atop a
hill overlooking the artists and poets cemetery. Ansarys father taught science
and literature at Kabul University, and his American mother taught English at
the first girls school in Afghanistan. His relatives lived throughout the city
and in the nearby grape-growing village of Deh Yahya.
Then the family moved to Lashkargah, a small town in the middle of the desert in
southwestern Afghanistan, the headquarters of a vast American-funded project to
make the desert bloom.
In 1964, Ansary got a scholarship to an American high school, Colorado Rocky
Mountain School, and moved to America. Six years later he graduated with honors
from Reed College and soon thereafter plunged into the sixties counterculture
like a dog into surf; he wrote for an alternative weekly called The Portland
Scribe, lived in communes, worked in restaurants, wrote obscure, experimental
fiction, and quit his job often in order to hit the road and have adventures.
In 1980, Ansary traveled through North Africa and Turkey to explore Islam and
found Islamism instead. It took him 14 years of working as a textbook editor for
Harcourt Brace Jovanovich to recover from the shock. After 9/11, however, he hit
the road again, this time to visit Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan and to make
a journey to Kabul. After that, he took a long nap.
A regular columnist for Microsofts learning site Encarta.com, Ansary has
written nonfiction books for children, jokes for a mathematics program
(edutainment software), a literary memoir, several novels for reluctant
readers, a series of educational comic books called Adventures Plus, countless
letters to friends, and one two-line play.
His commentary has been heard on the Bill Moyers Show, the News Hour with Jim
Lehrer, the Oprah Winfrey Show, Hardball, and numerous National Public Radio
Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes (May
West of Kabul, East of New York (2002, memoir)
The Story of My Life: An Afghan Girl on the Other Side of the Sky by
Farah Ahmedi with Tamim Ansary
Biography from the author's website Aug 2009
This biography was last updated on 08/11/2009.
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