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Qais Akbar Omar biography

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Qais Akbar Omar

Qais Akbar Omar

How to pronounce Qais Akbar Omar: First name pronounced kice (rhymes with rice)

Qais Akbar Omar Biography

Qais Akbar Omar (whose first name is pronounced "Kice") manages his family's carpet business in Kabul and writes books. In 2007, he was a visiting scholar at the University of Colorado. He has studied business at Brandeis University and is currently pursuing an MFA in creative writing at Boston University. Omar has lectured on Afghan carpets in Afghanistan, Europe, and the United States. He is the author of A Fort of Nine Towers and co-author, with Stephen Landrigan, of Shakespeare in Kabul



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Interview

Dear Reader:

My name is Qais Akbar Omar. I am an Afghan, a Muslim, a descendant of the Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him, a carpet maker, a journalist, a boxer who has enjoyed breaking many noses, and "Qais, the Cruel Kite Cutter." I just turned 30 years old, and am the author of A Fort of Nine Towers

For centuries, until the time of my grandfather, my family were herders. We owned thousands of sheep and camels, and bought and sold carpets in bazaars all over Afghanistan. But no one in my family had ever actually woven a carpet until I did. That was during the time of the Taliban, when we had no other way to survive.

When I started writing A Fort of Nine Towers, I noticed how words are like knots in a carpet. One connects to the next until several make a thought, the way knots make a pattern. As I wrote about how I had lived with my family in my grandfather's large compound along with nearly fifty of my immediate relatives, I realized that the pattern I was weaving with words was my family. The pattern changed as war blasted its front lines across our neighbourhood and tore it apart; our family was forced to flee to the Qala-e-Norborja, the Fort of Nine Towers, on the far side of Kabul.

It changed again. My father ...

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A Fort of Nine Towers jacket
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