How to pronounce Khaled Hosseini: kHAH-lehd ho-SAY-nee
Khaled Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1965. His father was a
diplomat with the Afghan Foreign Ministry and his mother taught Farsi and
History at a large high school in Kabul. In 1970, the Foreign Ministry sent his
family to Tehran, where his father worked for the Afghan embassy. They lived in
Tehran until 1973, at which point they returned to Kabul. In July of 1973, on
the night Hosseinis youngest brother was born, the Afghan king, Zahir Shah, was
overthrown in a bloodless coup by the kings cousin, Daoud Khan. At the time,
Hosseini was in fourth grade and was already drawn to poetry and prose; he read
a great deal of Persian poetry as well as Farsi translations of novels ranging
from Alice in Wonderland to Mickey Spillanes Mike Hammer series.
In 1976, the Afghan Foreign Ministry once again relocated the Hosseini family, this time to Paris. They were ready to return to Kabul in 1980, but by then Afghanistan had already witnessed a bloody communist coup and the invasion of the Soviet army. The Hosseinis sought and were granted political asylum in the United States. In September of 1980, Hosseinis family moved to San Jose, California. They lived on welfare and food stamps for a short while, as they had lost all of their property in Afghanistan. His father took multiple jobs and managed to get his family off welfare. Hosseini graduated from high school in 1984 and enrolled at Santa Clara University where he earned a bachelors degree in Biology in 1988. The following year, he entered the University of California-San Diegos School of Medicine, where he earned a Medical Degree in 1993. He completed his residency at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles and began practicing Internal Medicine in 1996. His first love, however, has always been writing.
Hosseini has vivid, and fond, memories of peaceful pre-Soviet era Afghanistan, as well as of his personal experiences with Afghan Hazaras. One Hazara in particular was a thirty-year-old man named Hossein Khan, who worked for the Hosseinis when they were living in Iran. When Hosseini was in the third grade, he taught Khan to read and write. Though his relationship with Hossein Khan was brief and rather formal, Hosseini always remembered the fondness that developed between them - a relationship that is reflected in his first novel, The Kite Runner (2003).
He is married to Roya and has two children (a boy and a girl, Haris and Farah). In 2006, Hosseini was named a goodwill envoy to the UNHCR, The United Nations Refugee Agency.
A Thousand Splendid Suns, was published in May 2007.
About This Biography
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Khaled Hosseini discusses his second novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns, the role of women in Afghan society, how Afghans view the USA and much else in an extensive interview (2007).
In a separate interview that follows, recorded in 2003, he discusses his first novel, The Kite Runner.
The Kite Runner helped alter the worlds perception of Afghanistan, by giving millions of readers their first real sense of what the Afghan people and their daily lives are actually like. Your new novel includes the main events in Afghanistans history over the past three decades, from the communist revolution to the Soviet invasion to the U.S.-led war against the Taliban. Do you feel a special responsibility to inform the world about your native country, especially given the current situation there and the prominent platform youve gained?
For me as a writer, the story has always taken precedence over everything else. I have never sat down to write with broad, sweeping ideas in mind, and certainly never with a specific agenda. It is quite a burden for a writer to feel a responsibility to represent his or her own culture and to educate others about it. For me it always starts from a very personal, ...
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